Relevance and value; two words when combined are very powerful in any organization that is looking to deliver a blockbuster member experience. “Important to the matter at hand” and “relative worth, merit, or importance” is how Dictionary.com defines these two words, respectively. How do we define relevance and value in our organizations and how do we keep our Boards focused on what matters most?
Asking the Question – In every Board meeting, decisions are being made around policies, programs, services, staffing, and other important items that affect your members’ perception of the organization. But, at every decision point, are we asking this important question?
Is this decision or action going to provide both relevance AND value to our members and stakeholders?
This is not an “and/or” question, as something may be very valuable to your member, but it may not be relevant. For example, we can send weekly recipes to our members, but if our nonprofit organization is dedicated to serving widget manufacturers, the recipes may be valuable to some members who love to cook, but to the rest of the membership there is no relevance at all. Asking this question around every decision made by your organization leads you to the path of doing what matters most for your members.
Beginning with Planning – Relevance and value begins and ends with your strategic planning efforts, as it is the roadmap in guiding the organization to that special place that ends with increased member value. During the planning session, the question around relevance and value for each goal and strategy needs to be central and top-of-mind. If we begin with relevance and value, we are better able to focus on it after the session and end with a plan truly focused to make our organizations competitive and important to our members.
Measuring with Satisfaction – The only way to know we have provided relevance and value is to ask our members and stakeholders if they are receiving a return on their dues dollar investment. That is a true measure of satisfaction. Satisfaction levels should increase as we tie decisions to relevance and value and should be a key question in any needs assessment survey. Tracking this key metric year over year allows your organization to make meaningful adjustments to programs, benefits, and services.
Ending with the Beginning – Relevance and value changes and needs to be re-assessed on a regular basis. The question to ask again is:
How have our members’ needs changed that impact the relevance and value of our programs, benefits, and services?
Asking this question and the first question mentioned earlier creates a never ending loop of assessment, which in turn continues to focus towards the essence of what we do in our organizations: deliver sustained value. As member demographics and needs change, so must our organizations. Relevance and value are just two words, but combined, they are a mantra for excellence in your organization.