Like most of us I have been trying to connect with as many people as I can and listen and learn from as many association professionals as possible.  One common question I keep hearing is around the decision to market or not to market; one particular area that is getting a lot of attention is member recruitment and renewal. 

If you have read my recent posts you will know that I believe now is not the time to stop trying to recruit and retain members.  I am not going to rehash the reasons why I feel this way, but you can see my original post at

I want to address how critical it is right now, actually always, to understand what your members are dealing with.  Associations SHOULD be on top of this all the time, but it is even more important right now to understand what your members are facing.    

I have recently heard that many associations are putting mechanisms into place to better understand what is truly going on with their members.  One association is planning to send a request in their Enewsletter asking members to simply share how the association can help them right now.  Another is calling their members to see how members are doing.  Others are using survey tools like PropFuel to keep their fingers on the pulse of member and industry needs.

Our regular messaging is not what members need right now and just using your gut to determine what their true needs are is probably not be the answer.  I truly hope that we as MEMBER organizations are talking to our members about how we can best help them during this time and using that data to highlight the right benefits and resources in our member recruitment and renewal pieces and more.  Right now it is critical that we understand our members, and prospective members, what and why.