Wednesday, 28 March 2007


I have been noticing a large number of people who say to me "I would of voted for you, but my membership has lapsed ..." as if it were something over which they have no control. I think if I were to form an ALILA (Australia Library and Information Lapsed Association) it would be a large club. What can we do?

I guess that a significant task of the ALIA Board is to ensure that ALIA membership is strong and growing. In fact, I have been looking through the ALIA 2007 plan and membership growth is there at the top. But how? The strategies in this bit of the plan are communication and marketing, and "provide services and activities that members value."

What do you think? Why are lapsed members lapsed?


SharonU said...

Hi Derek! Feedback I've received when I've asked fellow LIS professionals why they aren't members or didn't rejoin - range from: it costs too much - to - it really doesn't provide me with much.

I suppose some people find conference and prof. development costs too high even with the discount. And I'm not too sure how many people value car rental and health insurance.

I wonder if a survey of the LIS profession would reveal what they want out of their Association if they were to be members of it?!?!

Derek Whitehead said...

Thanks Sharon. That's very helpful. Any other thoughts?

Trevor Wakely said...

Hi Derek

I'm aware of a number of previous members who simply 'lapsed' because there was no 'follow up' from national office...

One invoice...then...nothing.

I'd like my bank to treat my VISA bill that way...send a bill...I ignore/forget it...and then the Bank just 'shrugs' and says, "Oh well..."

There seems to be a 'variety' of follow up processes...that are not always followed? The folk who did lapse...I thought could have taken the initiative to re-join...but they were happy to use it as an excuse to 'escape' Sad I thought...

But...a review and follow up process for those who miss/forget their membership renewals might be a good start???


Robyn Ellard said...

Hi Derek,

Member retention is a complex issue and one that many Australian associations including ALIA are working hard to improve - thanks for raising it.

The ALIA Board and National Office staff (including myself) are very happy to discuss any of these issues with members (as well lapsed and non-members) - so please don't hesitate to contact us on 1800 020 071 or email us at

There is some good news regarding ALIA’s follow up of lapsed members. The ALIA Local Liaison Officers in each state and territory are provided with lists of non-renewing members in September / October of each year. Sometimes membership lapses because of dire situations such as finance or for simple reasons such as forgetfulness and the LLOs attempt to work through and support our members with any challenges. We also listen to complaints or issues about ALIA and while we may not always win back the member, the LLOs will pursue these complaints through available channels in an effort to stop it happening again. Some other good news is that for the last two months our membership has grown by 40% compared with this time in 2006 and the ALIA Board of Directors and National Office staff are working hard to continue this trend.

Member recruitment and retention is a topic of much research and isn’t an easy one for many associations, but ALIA is meeting this challenge head on and one of the first steps is talking about the issues involved. Thanks for bringing this issue up for discussion Derek - it's great to hear what members have to say and it's great to be able to impart some positive news.

Cheers, Robyn Ellard

Assistant Director, Member Services
& ACT Local Liaison Officer