Founded in 1962, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) serves performance improvement professionals and works to advance the field of human performance technology. Like many professional associations, ISPI has seen a decline in its membership for a variety of reasons, including the economic recession and changing workforce demographics.
To help boost these decreasing membership numbers, ASCENT worked with ISPI to envision, create, and implement a membership referral contest that utilized ISPI’s greatest membership marketing resource – their current members, many of whom had been members for decades.
ASCENT launched a referral membership campaign and contest called Share the Gift of ISPI in July of 2012. The purpose of the campaign was to encourage the association’s current members to recommend the benefits of ISPI membership to their colleagues and coworkers in the performance improvement industry. The contest incentivized member participation with the opportunity to win professional development prizes.
For four months, the campaign featured a variety of prizes which were announced every month to keep membership engaged throughout the duration of the campaign. Contest drawings took place monthly, and there was a final grand prize drawing at the end of the campaign. In addition, every member who referred at least one new member also received a thank you gift for their participation. Awarding prizes and thank you gifts throughout the campaign helped to build and maintain member interest in the promotion.
To assist members as they reached out to their contacts, ASCENT created a “Recruiter Toolkit” complete with resources such as sample emails, fliers, and informational text to assist with the recruitment process. Additionally, ASCENT promoted the campaign to ISPI membership through various electronic channels including social media, email, ISPI’s monthly e-magazine, and website. To keep members engaged in the four-month campaign, ASCENT emphasized member communication that acknowledged and thanked the contest participants and congratulated the winners.
The campaign resulted in an increase in ISPI membership referrals. ASCENT’s Share the Gift of ISPI membership campaign saw a tenfold increase the number of membership referrals compared to a prior member-get-a member campaign. ISPI staff was pleased with the results and the increase in membership and membership participation.