Posted By Leah Baker

YTheyJoin identifies nine types of association members based on their motivations for joining and this article discusses two of them: Doubters™; and Non-Relevants™. (The other seven types were discussed in previous blog articles.)


Doubters are members who question membership for a variety of reasons. In an economic downturn, the problem could be dues. Other people are Doubters because they had a negative experience – perhaps they asked to be on a committee or to write an article and were ignored, or they had a problem with customer service. Some Doubters may be long-time members but they have a personality that always sees the glass as half empty rather than half full, and they carefully evaluate the information they receive from the association when deciding to renew. If you really want to understand Doubters, ask them to specify their concerns. Consider giving newly-unemployed members an extension on their membership and they may like a job bank.


Non-Relevants are members who have changed status and the association is no longer relevant. This could include changing jobs or professions, retirement, etc. If it is important to you to keep these members, consider a special category with reduced price such as “Retirees.” It is important to watch the percent of Non-Relevants from year to year since it may start increasing due to demographic changes that are looming such as Baby Boomers starting to retire. If they form a large part of your membership, you will need to find new, younger members. There may be other reasons that this category grows, such as major changes in your industry, and it is up to your organization to determine the reasons.


At renewal time consider sending Non-Relevants a postcard asking if they intend to renew and, if not, why. This serves two purposes: it provides valuable feedback as to why people do not renew; and it saves the cost of sending multiple renewal notices to people who do not want them.


To learn more about YTheyJoin, the original member-segmentation and target-marketing program, please visit You can also call directly 703-772-5263 or e-mail

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Leah Baker
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