Is the membership sector on the right track?

DateOctober 2023

A bold question, we know. Thankfully, it’s not one that we need to answer as MemberWise’s popular Influence 100 Benchmarking Report (2023/24) by Author and Price Bailey LLP Partner, Helena Wilkinson has already done it with its fourth deep data dive into the UK’s largest 100 membership bodies.

Of course, ClearCourse was honoured to sponsor the report, which was launched at this year’s Membership Excellence conference in October.    

After all, as an organisation that’s renowned for providing software solutions – notably industry leading CRM and Online self-service solutions that enable the membership and charity sectors, all of which are underpinned by data-driven insights, it’s certainly a topic that’s close to our hearts.

Not only that, but as an organisation that’s heavily invested in this sector, and which shares its highs and feels its lows, it’s nice to get an understanding of how everyone else is doing, too.

We would like to applaud MemberWise and Price Bailey, notably Helena, for producing this piece of work. It’s an incredibly useful tool and one that our sector can use to inform strategic decisions going forward.

Our three key takeaways from the report are as follows:


1. Up the fees

MemberWise points out how membership organisations and associations may need to increase subscription fees by an average of 7 per cent in order to balance the books.

We’re a business brought in by organisations to deliver large-scale digital transformation programmes, which are typically a significant investment.  

Upping fees, therefore, will certainly go some way to help organisations grow and strive in a challenging climate where costs are on the up.  Increasing revenue from fees and other sources will allow organisations to continue investing in their services.

2. Marrying tech with strategy

The report’s expenditure analysis made for very interesting reading. A key insight related to the growing trend towards a reduced – albeit highly skilled – workforce in return for greater investment in technology.

This is something that we’ve not only seen but also helped facilitate over the last decade as member CRM and association management systems have proliferated.

However, as the report points out, having the tech in place without an appropriate strategy is risky. Making it all work together is the recipe for success.

3. Tech is on the up

It’s great to see that investment in association management systems is on the up. We’ve seen interest in our association management platforms, which are built on Dynamics 365, increase significantly over the last 12 months.

However, we know that there are still many membership organisations that are yet to invest in business-critical systems underpinned by what are often complex digital infrastructures.

Those who don’t have this in place will be more exposed to increasing labour costs at the same time as responding to increased demand than those who have already invested in sophisticated membership management tools.

To find out more about the most recent findings and emerging trends for the future join the discussion at the MemberWise webcast on the 5 December at 11 am HERE.


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