Hitting a Membership Milestone Despite Adversity
Victories can still be had in the era of COVID-19
The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) was firing on all pistons headed toward a lofty goal of reaching a 10,000-member milestone when the pandemic struck. Instead of suspending membership dues, Rick Harris, APMP’s CEO, decided on a counterintuitive approach. He doubled down on the membership goal and kept moving forward, conducting business as usual.
APMP amped up promotional and outreach efforts, and members responded. “When things are so disturbing and upsetting, there’s a comfort in normality,” Harris said. “We took the approach: We’re all in this together and we’re all moving forward as a team, an association, and an industry.”
Harris recalled using a similar strategy after 9/11 when he was at the helm of a much larger association. During that crisis, some associations relaxed on membership, but Harris had a hunch that wasn’t the right approach. It was important to “work through the pain,” show continued engagement, and deliver value, he said. APMP encouraged members who were experiencing hardship to call if they needed help. Fewer than 10 people called.
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