Author Topic: Membership Retention  (Read 7812 times)

Detroitphoenix

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Membership Retention
« on: August 30, 2010, 01:07:30 PM »
Peace, Fam:

I've been thinking a lot about membership retention.  It is one of the reasons I am proud to be the newest member of the Executive Council.

I believe that Poetry Slam, Incorporated is a vital organization to the creation and promotion of art.  In that, I want to see the community strengthened not only in numbers and members, but also by deepening our relationships with the current family we have now.  National events definitely feel like a family reunion, but what if we kept that momentum going year round with programming specifically designed to keep us all excited about PSi? 

This is where I could use your feedback.  When you consider the other organizations and clubs that you collaborate with, what kinds of membership incentives keep you excited about staying on board? 

To take a review of our current membership benefits go here:  http://www.poetryslam.com/forum/index.php?topic=2550.0

Looking forward to hearing from everyone!  I'll also cross post this topic in the SlamMasters Forum.

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~phoenix
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bobdapoet

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 05:08:30 PM »
As I have been a member (at the associate level & as a Slammaster) for some time, I'll just say that there are two factors for me regarding membership:

- Ensuring that my team, and individuals can participate in PSI events
- Allowing products we create to be sold in the PSI store

As my relationship with slam is now changing, I will no longer be a slammaster that I know of, the first reason has been removed from my consideration. The second item, given that sales have not been able to recoup the amount of the membership, is also waning in importance.

What's important to me?

The development of the art form, less the sponsorship of multi day competitions and more the continued work to get slam into new places. I do not know if it is, but membership money should be budgeted seperatley from registration money, and used for other purposes than the events themselves. I am hard pressed to find a compelling motivator for me to renew my membership when it comes due, other than that someone in PSI whom I care about asking me to.

Sam Castello

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2010, 07:59:36 PM »
link for member benefits - http://www.poetryslam.com/forum/index.php?topic=2548.0 (the one listed above goes to the PSi Members Section, which you can only see if you are a member - or was that a marketing ploy ;) )

Detroitphoenix

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2010, 10:17:36 PM »
I didn't realize that, Sam!  Should I post the membership benefits in this thread?
"Some people would rather lose their lives than lose freedom." ~Black Thought - The ROOTS

microflujos

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 11:10:05 AM »
I'm the slammaster for the Mexico City Poetry Slam and I wanted to comment on this subject.    Our slam has been certified with PSI for 2 years now and we haven't been able to participate in a single PSI event because PSI refuses to request the necessary artist visa for poets from developing countries so they can travel to the USA and compete in PSI events, yet they continue to promote the IWPS as a "world" event even though it is strictly limited to the participation of affluent developed countries whose poets don't need or can easily obtain visas to enter the USA.    In fact, by announcing the dates and location for the IWPS at the last minute it makes it all but impossible for our poets to participate.    I don't see how PSI is expanding or engaging audiences on a global scale in any way.    For our slam membership has been a waste of time and money.    Next year we will continue to try and send our poets to the IWPS as storm poets but we definitely will not be renewing our membership.   
                                            Micro Flujos, Mexico City Slam   

bobdapoet

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2010, 12:09:00 PM »
Here's the actual link on the public website for membership Q&A:

http://www.poetryslam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104&Itemid=123

In regards to Micro, I can totally see where he would feel that his membership has failed to provide them with a benefit.

Is that service a tangeble (and cost reasonable) benefit that we can or want provide to members outside the US?

AmyD

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2010, 02:27:48 PM »
Here's the actual link on the public website for membership Q&A:

http://www.poetryslam.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104&Itemid=123

In regards to Micro, I can totally see where he would feel that his membership has failed to provide them with a benefit.

Is that service a tangeble (and cost reasonable) benefit that we can or want provide to members outside the US?

Bob, this has been researched and discussed before.  Someone from PSi, like the ED, needs to send a letter to Micro inviting him to come to iwps.  My opinion is that it is cost reasonable.

Ransacked

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 09:10:02 PM »
PSi doesn't do a whole lot for me, and my membership in PSi doesn't do a whole lot for me, either, but PSi does a lot for the art form/ art movement I support, and you all seem like nice people, and $35/yr is a modest donation to the cause of good writing and good fellowship.

I joined in 2007 (2006?) back when I wanted to be a slam poet. Membership gave me a cute card (which I soon lost) and permitted me to enter upper-level slam tournaments at the Cantab. It was a means to a very specific, practical end.

By 2008, I'd realized that I had more to offer as a booster and backstage guy than as a competitor, but I paid the modest renewal fee because I didn't want PSI to delete my account and I did want a discount on a hotel room @ NPS Madison.

In 2009, I renewed at the associate level so I could sell my book in the PSi store. I forget whether it got me a discount admission to IWPS Berkeley.

Now it's 2010, and I'm about to renew my membership because I'm pretty sure i'm overdue for renewal, but I haven't gotten any reminders and, obviously, I can post comments and see "members only" parts of the forum. The book isn't selling (here), and the ways I participate in the slam community don't require my continued membership to PSI, but as I said at the start, it's just $35/year, PSI is Good People, and it's for a good cause.

I suspect the rank-and-file members of a given slam/open mic community have no idea what PSi is. It's like asking college students about the board of trustees, or the you-gotta-be-kidding letters that invite me to annual shareholder meetings of my meager stock portfolio. The work PSI does is always important but rarely visible. The Boston Poetry Slam has a dozen staff members and only three of us (Simone, Dawn, and I) post on these forums with any frequency. Our community is intensely loyal to the Cantab, and has a good spirit about the NorthBEAST slam family, but PSi just isn't on our community radar.

I suspect PSI will be a much bigger part of the Boston consciousness as NPS 2011 nears.

Detroitphoenix

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2010, 12:08:37 AM »
PSi doesn't do a whole lot for me, and my membership in PSi doesn't do a whole lot for me, either, but PSi does a lot for the art form/ art movement I support, and you all seem like nice people, and $35/yr is a modest donation to the cause of good writing and good fellowship.

I joined in 2007 (2006?) back when I wanted to be a slam poet. Membership gave me a cute card (which I soon lost) and permitted me to enter upper-level slam tournaments at the Cantab. It was a means to a very specific, practical end.

By 2008, I'd realized that I had more to offer as a booster and backstage guy than as a competitor, but I paid the modest renewal fee because I didn't want PSI to delete my account and I did want a discount on a hotel room @ NPS Madison.

In 2009, I renewed at the associate level so I could sell my book in the PSi store. I forget whether it got me a discount admission to IWPS Berkeley.

Now it's 2010, and I'm about to renew my membership because I'm pretty sure i'm overdue for renewal, but I haven't gotten any reminders and, obviously, I can post comments and see "members only" parts of the forum. The book isn't selling (here), and the ways I participate in the slam community don't require my continued membership to PSI, but as I said at the start, it's just $35/year, PSI is Good People, and it's for a good cause.

I suspect the rank-and-file members of a given slam/open mic community have no idea what PSi is. It's like asking college students about the board of trustees, or the you-gotta-be-kidding letters that invite me to annual shareholder meetings of my meager stock portfolio. The work PSI does is always important but rarely visible. The Boston Poetry Slam has a dozen staff members and only three of us (Simone, Dawn, and I) post on these forums with any frequency. Our community is intensely loyal to the Cantab, and has a good spirit about the NorthBEAST slam family, but PSi just isn't on our community radar.

I suspect PSI will be a much bigger part of the Boston consciousness as NPS 2011 nears.

Absolutely loved this post.
"Some people would rather lose their lives than lose freedom." ~Black Thought - The ROOTS

Scott Woods

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 09:45:21 AM »
I didn't realize that, Sam!  Should I post the membership benefits in this thread?

Actually his link goes to the General forum, which does not require membership access to read.

Scott Woods

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 09:51:32 AM »
Something I'd like to add:

When PSi changed the ownership model of the events, it changed our relationship with money in some ways as well. We still needed money, but in different ways for different things.  And now that we're starting MAKE some money on some events, it's time to revisit that dynamic again, more for educational purposes than for any actual change in how it's used.

That said, for me, membership is less about what money it generates for PSi than it does with enabling us to spread and grow Slam.  We get that you want more from your memberships.  So do we.  So let's talk about what might make it more valuable to you and your scenes and not just why you're waning.  I don't know that we'll make a dozen changes, but a few changes would go a long way in my book.


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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 10:44:02 AM »
That said, for me, membership is less about what money it generates for PSi than it does with enabling us to spread and grow Slam.  We get that you want more from your memberships.  So do we.  So let's talk about what might make it more valuable to you and your scenes and not just why you're waning.  I don't know that we'll make a dozen changes, but a few changes would go a long way in my book.


1. The slam workshops at Oneonta held promise. I could never attend because my job's busiest season is the summer, but if something similar to that had been offered at some other time of year, I'd have enjoyed going.

2. There is no Air Traffic Control for all the touring poets. PSI could be a clearinghouse for that.
   A. Scheduling: Right now, touring poets are looking for venues and venues are looking for touring poets. A great lineup happens one state away and fans might not get the word in time. A cancellation on short notice means a venue has to scramble for a feature, unaware that a really great touring poet will be in the area that week. We clog up Facebook and MySpace with poorly targeted self-promotion that bothers the friends and fans who live hundreds of miles away from the upcoming shows we're plugging.
   B. Logistics: Poet A lives on the East Coast. Owns a car. Is going to fly out to the Midwest and tour this fall, racking up $200 in car rental fees. Poet B lives in the Midwest. Owns a car. Is going to fly out to the East Coast and tour this fall, racking up $300 in car rental fees. If they knew about each other in advance, they could swap cars. Or apartments.

AmyD

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 11:20:39 AM »
Here are a few things that I think are really easy:

1) Member discounts for event tickets (finals night, etc.)

2) Member discounts for hotel rooms at the big 3 events (I think there was a competitor/SM rate, but there should be a member rate, too)

3) Tax receipts (if the value of the membership is less than what it costs)

4) Discounts on items from the PSi store


And then some things that may not be good ideas, but I'm trying to think creatively about what we could offer that doesn't cost much, so I list them here in case they spark an idea from someone else:

1) Members-only seats at finals night instead of strict general admission.

2) Discount admission to local slams or regionals.

3) Some type of member appreciation event at NPS.



The bottom line, however, is that most memberships offered by non-for-profits are donations that exceed what they are actually worth.  If the people who typically buy PSi memberships demand their "money's worth", they are not going to stick around in the years they aren't attending events.

amcehn

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 09:21:00 PM »
Amy, those are great ideas, thank you.
Abigail Ehn, Executive Director, PSi
115-1 Rock Ridge Cir
MAFB, ND 58704
(701) 727-6324
psimember@charter.net

Steve

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Re: Membership Retention
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2010, 09:32:11 AM »
Amy, for the record, getting more members and losing revenue from tickets and store sales is kind of taking cash from one pocket and putting it in the other. Doesn't change your financial well-being.

And your membership is completely deductible already. You get a receipt (actually you get two) and you can write this off your federal taxes each year. If you are the person who is a member at a level higher than $250, you need a special receipt, but that too happens automatically at that level.

We tried a member rate at the last one. Only two people took us up on it. It was not a big discount.

I love the idea of a members-only reading at NPS that is free.