As an association, we understand that your goal is to provide the highest value to your members. At UNA, our mission is to enable you to offer that great value while also saving you time and money.
If you read our previous blog post, we explained that one way to accomplish both savings and high value add for your association members is to implement an efficient affinity program. David Ewald of Ewald Consulting says, “Done well, an affinity program can be a way to reinforce the association’s value proposition to individual and corporate members.”
To do it well, not just any affinity program will do. Picking and implementing the right affinity program for your association hinges on the exclusive value offered to your members. The program needs to provide members what they could not find on their own and fall in line with your association's mission.
What may seem like an overwhelming implementation process can be boiled down into three simple steps and executed with relative ease, given the right help.
1. Survey and Compile
Never underestimate the value of your member's voice. By creating a short survey, you can find out what the members want from an affinity program while making them feel valued and heard.
You could find an affinity program with significant savings potential, but if the members aren't interested in what the program offers the program could tank. The affinity program you choose has to be a win-win for both sides for it to be a success.
Once your survey is collected, compile a list of potential vendors that could benefit your association and its members.
The last thing you want to promote is a bunch of bad contracts and researching which vendors offer your needs at the right price can be daunting. One hack is to find a group purchasing organization (GPO) that already has a portfolio of discounted contracts and programs available.
Unless you want to develop the program from scratch, we recommend you find a credible GPO, like UNA Purchasing, that not only has existing contracts but is also willing to help you set up a customized program including things like landing pages, marketing emails, customer services, etc.
3. Approach Vendors
This step may be the most time-consuming part of the process, so it is essential that steps one and two prove that implementation will be worthwhile. Once you have nailed down which program will be most beneficial, contact the vendors that could meet that demand.
Approaching vendors with program proposals can be tricky if your order volume is not guaranteed. The higher the committed volume and purchase orders, the lower your costs will be and the greater the savings and benefits for your members.
If you do not have the time to approach vendors, negotiate contracts or simply don’t have committed volume, partnering with a GPO is a viable option.
A GPO has access to large-volume orders to leverage exclusive contracts with vendors. In addition to negotiated contracts and large savings potential, GPOs offer additional marketing support and other association programs as well.
If you are interested in partnering with a GPO in the implementation process or are already in the process and just need some advice, our experts at UNA Purchasing are here to help.