A couple weeks ago, the NFPA Membership Committee met at the Annual Conference in San Antonio, with two major topics on the table for discussion:
- What should NFPA be doing to track engagement of members in NFPA programs and services, and how can we do a better job encouraging less engaged members to participate?
- What further steps should be taken in equalizing manufacturer and distributor memberships consistent with the original vision of the New Directions Initiative that sought to extend membership to the entire supply chain and elevate distributors as full members of NFPA?
Not surprisingly, the first was the easier of the two discussions. The second will be covered in a later post.
The membership engagement issue was referred to the Committee for further review following a brief discussion by the NFPA Board of Directors. NFPA staff currently compiles data on participation in programs and services, activity on committees and councils, use of some member resources, and other indicators of support for and engagement with NFPA’s mission. In compiling an overall indicator and indicators for each member company, we apply a very basic weighting system based on the extent to which we believe each item correlates with likelihood of membership renewal and satisfaction. The weighting system is basic because we want to be able to quickly assemble a reasonably reliable indicator and not get carried away building an illusion of precision.
Once we have our data pulled and indicator calculated, it’s segmented by member type. Then we look at trends in overall engagement and identify individual member companies that are less engaged. We make a specific point of reaching out to these less-engaged companies, particularly those we don’t see represented at conferences and meetings, with a staff visit if the opportunity presents itself, or at least with phone conversations to discuss their interests and NFPA’s offerings.
We think it’s been working for us, but it’s time for a fresh look. Volunteers from the Membership Committee will take a closer look at our methods (all specific-company identifiers removed to maintain confidentiality) in the coming months and make suggestions for improvement in what we look at and how we follow-up.