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Posted By Leah Baker

YTheyJoin identifies nine types of association members based on their motivations for joining and this article discusses one of them, Altruistics™.


Why do they join? What makes them tick? How do you communicate with them effectively? What will they do for the assn? Need some members to contact legislators or volunteer in the community? Just ask the Altruistic members!


Altruistics join because they believe in your mission and values. This could include: having a voice in Washington or locally that speaks for your profession; standing up for those you serve; or if multi-disciplinary, bringing together diverse groups of people. 


Letters or appeals to Altruistics should emphasize good works, serving the public interest, and how your assn provides members with a legislative voice. If your assn has a Foundation, Altruistics want to know how you “made a difference.”


Altruistics are a critical part of your assn and it is vitally important that proposed legislation be watched because one new law or regulation can have severe consequences for your members’ profession or trade and their constituents.


Altruism itself conveys a deep level of commitment to the profession or trade. The challenge lies in transferring some of this commitment to the organization. Altruistics would be very interested in a Code of Ethics. At renewal time, tell Altruistics about different ways they can get involved. For example, your annual conference may include a food or book drive. Perhaps you have a mentoring or tutoring program. Write a renewal letter just for Altruistics showing how you met their needs in the past year and how you will continue doing so. These are called resonant statements.


People are complimented when you ask for their opinions and if you don't, someone else will! For more info about the YTheyJoin program, go to or call 703-772-5263 in the U.S. The program also includes a Workbook with marketing ideas for each category.

Posted By Leah Baker

YTheyJoin identifies nine types of association members based on their motivations for joining and this article discusses one of them, Cognoscenti™.


Why do they join? How should you communicate with them effectively? What will they do for the assn? Need some writers or speakers? Just contact the Cognoscenti members!


Cognoscenti join because they want specialized info they believe they cannot get elsewhere. This includes your magazine, journal, newsletters, Web site, directories, library services, etc. Some may want to write, speak or teach. Unlike the Mailboxer type who wants quick and concise info, the Cognoscenti type takes the time to read and study.


Letters or appeals to Cognoscenti should include announcements of technical or scholarly studies sponsored by your assn. Emphasize the availability of up-to-date data and statistics, and consider asking for feedback to ensure they are receiving what they need. Examples include compensation surveys, trends analysis, sales or hiring statistics in their field, etc. If your assn provides certification programs many Cognoscenti members may be interested.


Cognoscenti are also resources. Ask if they would like to serve in a Speaker’s Bureau, submit articles for publication, or teach seminars. If you publish specialized books, gather Cognoscenti members to discuss new ideas and some may submit book proposals. Are they aware that you may have research grants?


At renewal time ask what topics, leaders in the field, or types of studies interest them and consider sending a discount coupon for a publication. Write a renewal letter just for Cognoscenti showing how you met their needs during the past year and how you will continue doing so. These are called resonant statements.


People are always complimented when you ask for their opinions - - if you don’t ask them, someone else will!


For more info about the program go to or call 703-772-5263 in the U.S.

Posted By Leah Baker

Dale Paulson, Ph.D., invented YTheyJoin in 1992 and he originally called it Allegiance for Associations. He is the sole provider. He invented the nine categories and the system of codes and has clients around the country. It is the original member-segmentation program for associations. Gallup tried to buy it but he said no. Like most good ideas, YTheyJoin is occasionally “borrowed” by other consultants who may present it as their own, and the buyer should be an educated consumer.


Dr. Paulson specializes in research for national associations and his innovative methodologies have received several trademarks. As President of Allegiance Research Group, he conducts survey research and gives seminars and speeches. While others like to say they are the “biggest and best in the Western Hemisphere” or “the world’s leader in the field”, Dr. Paulson tends to avoid these types of descriptions.


In 1998 Dr. Paulson’s book on Allegiance was published by the American Society of Association Executives and it contains detailed information about the program and how it was developed. It is based on his empirical research and much of this is included in the book. The book is available for sale at ASAE or at Amazon and is titled “Allegiance®: Fulfilling the Promise of One-to-One Marketing for Associations.”


Hundreds of thousands of association members have now taken the YTheyJoin one-page survey, and the program helps associations save tons of money by target marketing which is both personal and timely.


I invite you to visit the Web site at for more info about the program.


In the next article, I will describe one of the nine member types in the YTheyJoin program, and specific marketing ideas for this group.

Posted By Leah Baker

Step 1: Send a one-page survey (I like to call it a tagging form) to all members where you give them 100 points to spend on your various products and services. You can include this in member applications or welcome-aboard packets, send by e-mail, put it in your newsletter or magazine, etc. Member applications are cold and impersonal and this form is a way of saying “We care about you and want to know about your professional needs.” It may be the first and only time that you ask each member why they joined, and you will be pleasantly surprised to see how many members say “thanks for asking!”


Step 2: Look at the places where they spend the most points and summarize this information into a 3-digit code that you write on each form. For example, 573, means this person is a Cognoscenti, spent 70 points on this, and their next choice is Shaper. (Please refer to the previous article to see the list of categories and the corresponding number for each.)


Step 3: Enter the code into each member’s record. All you need is three columns and it is like a Zip Code®.


That is all there is to it. Now you know what each member wants, no more guesswork! In the example, the person who is a 573 is a strong Cognoscenti (wants to read your publications and may buy some of them and may also want to be a speaker or writer for your assn) and has some interest in serving on a committee. This person spent points on no other categories.


I have a free Fact Sheet that explains this program, called YTheyJoin, and if you would like it just send me an e-mail at


Posted By Leah Baker

With target marketing you segment your members into various types, and I like to segment them into nine types. These types are based on the member’s professional needs and expectations, not on traditional demographics. It is part of a program called YTheyJoin based on why they paid the dues. The key question always is: Why did you join the association?


1. Mailboxers-(snail or electronic) want concise info/no time to mingle

2. Relevant Participants-like to attend meetings for info or to network

3. Shapers-like to serve on committees, help shape assn policy

4. CompShopers-look for value such as discounts/benefits

5. Cognoscenti-like the publications or opportunity to write/speak

6. Boosters-like the assn to boost the image of the profession

7. Altruistics-believe in your mission and legislative action

8. Doubters-tend to resist change and new initiatives

9. Non-Relevants-may be retiring or changing professions


I will discuss each type in later blog articles, and provide marketing ideas for each, but first you need to learn the three steps to implement a simple target-marketing system and this is in the next article.


(Please note that YTheyJoin and the nine member categories are trademarks of ARG.)



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Leah Baker
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