Membership organizations exist to serve their members. So it’s no surprise that Corona is often tasked with uncovering what benefits members find most valuable and what new benefits members are seeking. Similarly, we often conduct research with non-members to measure their awareness of the organization’s benefits and whether they are a “fit” for them.

The benefits Corona has examined has run the spectrum, from career services to professional development to lobbying and more. While benefits are unique to an organization, we have observed some broad trends, such as:

Benefits that focus on the individual consistently rate higher than benefits that focus on the profession or industry.

This can vary by segment and organization, but in short, a benefit that focuses on personal gain (e.g., networking, career, skills, etc.) will rate higher than those that focus on the profession or industry more broadly (e.g., funding research, representing their interest with legislatures, etc.). This isn’t to say the other things aren’t important, but that they have relatively less appeal than personal benefits.

This makes intuitive sense in many ways. While people will support the broader industry benefits, they first want their own needs met. People ask what’s in it for them and the clearest answers are those benefits that they can see a direct advantage from. While people can often see the benefits of supporting their broader industry, it is not as direct or an immediate of a line from organizational offering to personal benefit.

Have you seen this with your own organization? What benefits have you found to be especially valuable among members?


As a side note, when Corona researches benefits we don’t only research the value of the benefit, but also often how the organization is performing in providing that benefit and whether the organization is seen as the entity to provide it. Weighing all of these factors together helps our clients make a more informed decision to what benefits to offer.

This is the third post in a series of posts about membership organizations. Corona has worked extensively with membership organizations and is sharing some of its lessons learned over the years here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to get all updates, and sign-up for our quarterly newsletter here.