When I worked for a member management software company one of the frequent concerns we heard from associations and chambers was how hard it was to get people to update their member information. Most of these member organizations had implemented their systems because they thought they would make it easier and yet, many members weren’t updating member information.
It was frustrating for the member organizations.
So how do you handle updating member information? Do you give up entirely on the electronic data or stick to your ideas that electronic data is, at the end of the day, easier for everyone including the environment? Here’s some advice on how a few chambers handle members who won’t update their info.
Ways to Make Updating Member Information Easier
Get It While You Have Their Attention
The Twin City Chamber of Commerce sends out a sheet to update information when they send out invoices. Anyone who doesn’t return it gets a phone call. This is a technique often used by billing entities as well. If you get paper bills you’ll notice there’s always a spot for a change of address/information.
Give It to an Intern
At the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce, they bring in interns who then visit or call each business to verify the member information is up-to-date. If you don’t have interns, you can use volunteers.
Make It About the Win
Why should they update their information? What’s in it for them? Some chambers give an incentive, like holding a drawing for Chamber Bucks, if the information is filled out and submitted by a certain date.
Ultimately, it comes down to how badly you need it and how it affects them. If it affects them in a negative way, like their business directory listing is wrong and it goes to print that way, they will learn quickly that they need to update you in a timely manner of any business changes. But if it just comes down to a mailing address that you send a newsletter to, they most likely aren’t affected enough to go out of their way to do it.
If you’d like to find out how other chambers handle this, join the conversation here.