Increasing M&A Source’s Membership and Engagement
Author: Ashley Uhl, Senior Association Manager
The M&A Source was established in 1992 to address the challenges faced by merger and acquisition professionals. This international organization currently has more than 350 M&A dealmakers including intermediaries, investment bankers, attorneys, accountants, financial planners and others involved in the M&A process. The goal of the organization is to promote the members’ professional development to better serve their clients’ needs, and to maximize public awareness of services performed by intermediaries and ancillary advisors who facilitate solutions available for lower middle market merger and acquisition transactions.
A constant challenge of most associations is increasing conference attendance and membership growth. Meeting Expectations and The M&A Source board recognized this challenge and strategized a way to address it. The association needed a new way to attract new members and get them involved in the association immediately – and for very little cost. Further, conference attendance is an important component of creating an engaged member and one of the major benefits of The M&A Source is the interaction and connections made at semiannual conferences.
The Meeting Expectations team collaborated with M&A Source to target a group of non-members who had previously interacted and engaged with the association via free, monthly learning webinars but had not made the commitment to formally join.
In the six months preceding the conference registration period, 173 non-members attended one or more webinars, compared with 167 members who attended in-person meetings. This segmented group was sent a series of four emails over a three-month period offering a membership plus conference registration package for $750. As combined membership is $520 and the early-bird conference rate for non-members is $875, this promotion offered a savings of 54%.
The $750 rate was determined by factoring the true cost of conference attendance, including food and materials and the cost to service a new member. Hard conference costs were calculated at $180, plus the $520 annual membership fee totaled the $750 fee.
On average, emails received a 27% open rate and the spring “combo-promo” garnered 33 new members and first-time conference attendees; or a 19% success rate, for little cost. Additionally, non-members made inquiries asking questions about the promotion and if it would be available again.
The promotion ran for one year (two conferences) and added 54 new members and first-time attendees. This promotion has also earned The M&A Source many new, active volunteers; including several nominations for the board of directors.
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