By Cindy Banyai
This report discusses the composition of the 2014 Community Development Society (CDS) obtained from the membership roster and the most recent Membership Survey.
This information is being analyzed to better inform the CDS marketing strategy, as well as to tailor conference components (mobile workshops).
Here are the top findings:
- Members report being a part of CDS for an average of 11.3 years. They are largely from the Midwest, but there is a sizeable international component of the membership.
- Aside from community development specifically, members are most involved with planning and evaluation, education and training, and dealing with projects and programs.
- Networking, knowledge sharing and learning, and the journal and publications are the most valued components of being a member of CDS.
Membership data from 2011-2014 has also been analyzed to better understand the year to year membership retention rates and to set targets for future growth in this area. The major findings are that we have a major issue with membership retention, with only 40% of members renewing consistently. The issues stem from a lack of continued value for conference-local memberships and problems with the membership renewal system.
The Membership Committee requests $6,000 in 2015 to help address some of these recommendations.
Average member reports being involved with organization for 11.3 years
Where are CDS members from?
Only a few members in each state, but membership is Midwest-heavy
Top Origins of CDS Members 2012-2013
- Minnesota (12.5%)
- Kentucky (7%)
- Wisconsin (6.2%)
- Ohio (5.4%)
- Missouri (5.4%)
- Illinois (4.7%)
- Canada (4.7%)
- New York (3.1%)
- International (3.1%)
What areas do CDS members work in?
- Community Development
- Planning and evaluation
- With programs/projects
What career difference does CDS make?
- Knowledge sharing and learning
This is consistent with what members like about CDS. In the member survey, people most often identified the connections they make through CDS as what they like the most, followed by the publications, and knowledge sharing.
The findings from analyzing year to year membership lists, as well discussing with other Directors and Julie While from the management office, is that there is a core membership of 135 or so members the sign up every year (2011-2014 puts number at 106). This number is low because of some of the peculiarities of the CDS membership process being associated with the conference. The main issues with this include: a large single-year membership contingent from the conference host area dedicated members who can get the discounted membership rate for 2 conferences, but skip paying years.
Data Analysis highlights:
- Consistent membership 2011-2014: 106 members, 40% of total memberships between 2011-2014. This demonstrates a tremendous issue with overall membership retention.
- 38% of memberships (295 out of 800) between 2011-2014 were only members for 1 year. This data relates to the issue with regional membership in conference areas, but indicates a lack of apparent continued value and outreach to colloquial members.
- 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 retention rate (through July 2014) = 47% according to CDS management office, but analysis of 2011-2013 shows a much lower number of 40%
- 35 people were only members from 2011-2013, 37 people were only members from 2012-2014, and 15 people had gap years in their membership. All of this information points to issues with the membership renewal process.
Potential rationale for retention issues
- Lack of consistent membership outreach – Some members only stay a short time because they cannot find a home in the organization and have difficulty connecting to value of membership (especially if not publishing), this could potentially isolate practitioners
- Lack of consistent membership renewal reminders and ease of renewal process - even long time members have gap years because of lapses in the membership process
- Conferences are too colloquial – the locals who attend the conferences cannot find benefit to continued membership beyond the conference year
Membership Committee 2015 Budget Proposal
Design and run ads on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook) to entice non-members connections and new contacts to join CDS
CDS Brochure refresh
Content and graphics re-design
Postage to send brochures to CDS representatives
2014 -2015 Committee Members
Cindy Banyai - Co-Chair
Dan Kahl - Co-Chair
Johanna Reed Adams