WIIFM is not a radio station. It is an acronym for “what’s in it for me?”, a frequently asked question that an association executive gets from a potential member. WIIFM refers to what benefit or value an association member can reap—a simple question that many associations grapple with.
I recently read an article by Amanda Kaiser, a researcher and blogger for Association Success.org, on yet another but related acronym: AVTP, or association’s value trigger point. She wrote: “Ask your members when they realized the value of the association, and many can tell you the exact moment. They can quickly recall a single event or moment when it was clear to them they made the right decision in joining.” Here are excerpts from the article:
“The moment new members understand the value of their association is what the AVTP is all about. For some members, it could be the first conference or event that they have attended. There, they probably have met people like them struggling with the same challenges. They may have solved some of their problems listening to excellent speakers or by connecting with individuals who have been where they are now. They got support. They felt included. They learned a lot. They met other like-minded professionals. They realized they were not alone.
“Now that they experienced the AVTP and understand the value of their association, they are more likely to be engaged with their association in other ways. They look to the association first for information. Members like these remain members longer, they contribute and they evangelize.
“Associations usually just have one AVTP. It could be the one product, service, event or interaction that most members identified as the event when they realized the value of their membership. Not every association’s AVTP is the same. For some, it is the conference; for another, it might be a webinar series; for others, a new member tour; for others, a call from an association staff. For another association, it might be new-to-the-profession training. Whatever your association’s AVTP is, members who experience the ‘trigger point event’ feel more engaged during the life of their membership.”
In the case of my association, the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), most members say their AVTP is their advocacy of advancing association governance and management in the country. Some say it’s the certified professional association executive program, while others mention the annual association summit. Then there are some who say it’s the Ang Susi Awards, which honors their association’s contributions to national development, or its online publications. Others simply say it’s being with their peers, sharing experiences—the “belongingness”.
Knowing your association’s AVTP provides you with more opportunities to increase value for your members. You can also: (a) discover ways to get more new members to experience the trigger point event soon upon joining; (b) learn if there are more ways to improve the value trigger point event to provide even more value; and (c) use the AVTP as a gateway to introducing new members to other benefits of their membership.
Not every association currently has an AVTP. Your members might indicate that they learned the value of the association over time. If most engaged members say this, you may not currently have an AVTP, but you can create one.
So does your association have an AVTP? If it does, are you fully leveraging on it? I would be pleased to hear from you your Association “moment”!
The column contributor, Octavio Peralta, is concurrently the secretary general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP) and the CEO and founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE). PCAAE is holding the Associations Summit 5 (AS5) on November 22 and 23, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), which is expected to draw over 200 association professionals here and abroad. The two-day event is supported by ADFIAP, the Tourism Promotions Board, and the PICC. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on AS5.
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