Member Enrollment vs. Member Sign Up

Christin Baker
Member Enrollment vs. Member sign Up

Person Centered Enrollment :  Member Enrollment vs. Member Sign Up

I have found that YMCA staff across the country, who are accountable to membership numbers, have an expectation... any staff person who is in membership or works the back office should be able to sign someone up for a membership.  Period.

And to their aid, there are many operations systems available that can:

  • take the information
  • take the payment
  • take a picture

And just like that, a new member is on their way as are the membership numbers.

Heck, if they want to sign up for a program I bet most of the staff -- full-time and part-time -- can do that as well.

Why? Simple – it’s easily trained and systemized.  Here is someone who wants to join and here is the process for them to become a member.  Member Sign Up . . . Check!

Oh, if only Member Sign Up was a leading measure of success!  Unfortunately, the more important question then becomes -- What is your expectation for staff when it comes to Member Enrollment.

Let’s pause for a moment and make the distinction between the two.  Member Sign Up vs. Member Enrollment.

Member Sign Up is what was mentioned above.  Someone comes through your doors and they have already made the decision to join your organization.  No need to convince them, it’s a done deal and signing them up becomes a transaction.

Member Enrollment is when someone comes in who is not sure they want to join and they are shopping around for the right fit.

That is where the interaction must be different.  The decision is not made and the process is no longer transactional but now becomes transformational.  Is your expectation still that all membership service staff perform this function?  

This is not an operational process, although many organizations have been treating it as such.  This is not something that you can simply train people to do successfully.  You can train them and that does not mean they will truly accomplish Member Enrollment.  This process should be done by someone who has the interest and the inherent skill set combined with training.  

There are many different kinds of enrollment processes.  Ours is called Person Centered Enrollment and we believe that not everyone should do or be trained in it.  

I leave you with these questions: 

  1. Would you ask anyone on your staff to fill in as a lifeguard if someone called in sick?  
  2. Would you ask anyone on your staff to teach a group exercise class if you had to get a sub?  

There’s another blog for you if you said yes to either ☺  No!  We would not.  It takes a specific skillset and training to fill those roles, yet many organizations task nearly any warm body with Member Enrollment. 

It’s the cornerstone of most of our operations and we believe we need to think differently about the process.  There is a difference between Member Enrollment and Member Sign Up.  Let’s lean into the transformational, leading indicators of membership.  Together.

If you want to know more about Person Centred Enrollment contact or