Membership Processes
Membership Management System (MMS): MEI maintains the association’s 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 association’s 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 member’s 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 member’s 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 member’s 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 month.

Reports
Rosters: Monthly MMS produces a complete and updated roster of the association’s membership, including each member’s 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 association’s 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 office.
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 association’s 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 month’s end, MMS produces accounting-related membership reports for accounting purposes and easy entry into the association’s 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 accounts.
MMS is also capable of performing and reporting a variety of sophisticated calculations - the portion (if any) of a member’s 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 member’s dues to be “rebated” to chapters, regions or other divisions; and other similar kinds of calculations.
At the end of the association’s fiscal year, MMS produces summaries of the accounting data it has been accumulating for use in auditing the association’s financial records.

Membership Development
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.
Recruitment: MEI will actively recruit many new members. Even more effective, however, is the recruitment done by an association’s 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 MEI’s 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 association’s 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 affiliated chapters.
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 for non-payment.
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 association’s services and benefits, MEI will report these to the association’s leaders, along with suggestions for remedying them, or for new and more relevant services and programs.