Membership Management System
(MMS): MEI maintains the associations membership records by
computer. The computer system is located and operated by a computer service
bureau. The service bureau, under the direction, guidance and approval
of MEI, performs all data entry, providing four levels of security backup
of the membership data. Daily backup is stored on-site, weekly backup is
stored off-site at one location, monthly backup is stored off-site at a
second location, and quarterly backup is stored off-site at yet a third
location. The membership data is owned by the association, but
the program under which it is stored is not.
The program used - the Membership Management System (MMS)
program - was custom-designed by MEI (and is jointly owned by MEI and the service bureau) for the unique membership tracking, accounting and
reporting needs of associations. It is capable of recording demographic"
(name, address, phone number, title, employer, etc.), psychographic"
(interests, skills, academic degrees, certifications, achievement dates,
affiliations, employer type/size/budget, etc.), and accounting"
(dues payments, etc.) information for each member.
MMS supports an unlimited number of members. Each member
can be classified in one of more than 260,000 different member types. Each
member can be placed in one or more of 10,000 different chapters in each
of 10 chapter levels (100,000 chapters). Each chapter level can store 20
psychographic characteristics about each member. While chapters are typically
affiliates or subdivisions of the association, MMS chapters can also be
services selected by members for which there can be additional charges.
In addition to each member type having an association
dues rate, each chapter can also have a dues rate for that type. MMS can
calculate and report chapter dues as either a variable or fixed rebate
slice of the association dues, or as a specified amount collected
in addition to association dues.
MMS has an extensive repertoire of built-in standard
features, functions, and reports needed and usable by any association. But
its versatility and flexibility and customizeable features are
what allow it to meet the unique data needs of each association.
Dues Invoicing: MMS
produces membership renewal notices. These are generated monthly according
to members anniversary dates (or annually for all members, depending on
the associations policy).
The standard notice form is a self-mailer"
including the renewal notice, remittance form, change of information form,
and a pre-addressed return envelope. The notice includes the members name,
ID #, membership type and amount, types and amounts for chapter affiliations,
and the membership renewal period.
Members receive three notices a first notice two months
in advance of their anniversary date (or annual invoice month), a final
notice in the anniversary month (or the annual invoice month) if membership
has not yet been renewed, and a delinquent notice following the grace period
(established by the association) after the anniversary date. If a members
dues are not paid within the grace period of the delinquent notice (usually
10 days), the member is placed in inactive status and no longer receives
member services. However, the members record is not deleted from the membership
database for at least another 18 months against the possibility that he
or she simply overlooked renewing, or can be re-recruited to membership.
Dues Receipting: Membership
dues payments are sent directly to the bank lock box of the
depository account. Daily, the bank sends MEI a copy of the checks and the
payment coupons (and/or other documentation) for its use in recording the
dues payments. Payments are entered into MMS, along with any member data
corrections. At the end of the accounting month, MMS will produce new membership
cards (if used by the association) for members who have renewed during the
MMS produces a complete and updated roster of the associations membership,
including each members ID number, name, home and work addresses and phone
numbers, anniversary date, chapter affiliations (if applicable), all arranged
alphabetically by member last name.
MMS also can produce a monthly updated roster arranged
according to the associations chapters, regions, or other divisions. Copies
of these reports are sent to the persons responsible for membership matters
in the chapters, regions or divisions. An accompanying handbook"
explains the reports and their uses, the general duties and responsibilities
of the membership person, and resources available to them from the headquarters
Along with these two standard roster reports, MMS can
produce other customized and ad hoc reports to meet specific needs for regular,
periodic or one-time reports of membership activities and statistical summaries.
Finally, these rosters can be directly merged"
from the computer into word processing documents and letters; can be used
to produce a wide variety of mailing label formats and lists for the associations
own use or for rent to others as a source of non-dues revenue;
and can be reproduced on magnetic media or telecommunicated for use in producing
membership directories (again as a source of non-dues revenue, especially
if advertising space in the directories is sold).
Accounting Reports: At
months end, MMS produces accounting-related membership reports for accounting
purposes and easy entry into the associations accounting records. The two
most important are the Cash Receipts Journal summarizing the total amounts
received for each category of membership, and the Posting Journal listing
the payment amount of each individual member and its allocation to proper
MMS is also capable of performing and reporting a variety
of sophisticated calculations - the portion (if any) of a members dues
paid this fiscal year to be deferred (and therefore representing
a current liability) for services actually to be received in the next fiscal
year; the portion (if any) of a members dues to be rebated
to chapters, regions or other divisions; and other similar kinds of calculations.
At the end of the associations fiscal year, MMS produces
summaries of the accounting data it has been accumulating for use in auditing
the associations financial records.
Promotion: MEI actively
promotes growth in the membership of the association by developing membership
goals, identifying new categories of membership, creating membership brochures
and applications, and assembling and using targeted prospect lists. In addition,
MEI distributes press releases to associated publications explaining the
benefits of membership in the client organization, and attends meetings
or other events which provide forums in which to promote membership.
will actively recruit many new members. Even more effective, however, is
the recruitment done by an associations membership committee. Most important
of all is recruitment done by individual members.
These collective recruitment efforts, whether during
a focused membership campaign or as a continuing effort, will be encouraged
and supported by MEIs headquarters staff. Membership recruiters or prospects
will be supplied with membership information, materials and member service
samples. MEI staff will also provide liaison for recruiting efforts.
New Member Process: As
each application is received (and approved in accordance with the associations
policies), the new member is entered in MMS. Within five working days, the
new member is sent a new member welcome letter and package including association
materials and publications. The new member is asked to verify the information
about their membership and to return any corrections or additions in a postage-paid
reply envelope. Copies of the new member letters are sent to appropriate
Retention: Once recruited,
retaining members is more a matter of the services and benefits each derives
from the association than of management. Nevertheless, management does play
a role. In that role, MEI will see to it that services and benefits are
delivered in a timely manner; will establish systems to report on membership
renewals (or the lack thereof) and to capture results of membership campaign
efforts; and will assure membership committees a regular flow of information
about collection of dues, delinquent members, and termination of members
Finally, MEI will strive to learn why members are not
renewing. If the reasons are management related (e.g., delays in receiving
service, not receiving service at all), MEI will correct the deficiencies
immediately! If non-renewal is related to the associations services and
benefits, MEI will report these to the associations leaders, along with
suggestions for remedying them, or for new and more relevant services and