Why a Members-only Model Might be Holding Back Your Association
Without invitation, you're keeping interested people at bay
Picture this: It’s Friday night, and you’re walking home through a city. Your commute takes you past a high brick wall with ivy spilling over the top. You can’t see beyond the wall, but you can hear the sounds of a dinner party taking place in the garden beyond. There’s laughter, glasses clinking and the sizzle of a grill. You can easily picture what’s happening—but without an invitation, you can’t join the fun.
Now imagine a different scene: You’re walking past a park pavilion when you hear the inviting sound of live music. A jazz band has attracted a small crowd of listeners, and you slip into their midst. Someone taps you on the shoulder and invites you to help yourself to a cold drink or a snack from a nearby picnic table. Within seconds, you’ve become part of something.
Traditionally, many associations function like the first scene. They’re walled gardens that remain closed to non-members who can guess—but can’t truly experience—the benefits of joining. The exclusivity might even be part of their appeal.
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