SINCE I came from a banking background, I am familiar with the acronym KYC or “Know Your Customer.” It is a universal regulatory and due diligence process that financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, insurance and other financial service providers, follow to identify and vet their customers. The primary goal of the KYC policy is to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud and other financial crimes. It requires banks to establish a comprehensive understanding of their customers’ identity, financial activities and risk profiles.
In the domain of associations, the KYC principle can be adapted as KYM for “Know Your Member.” Both concepts share similar principles but differ in their application and context. While both focuses on understanding and gathering information about individuals, they serve distinct purposes based on the nature of the business or organization they apply to.
In KYC, banks collect personal information, identification documents and financial data from customers to ensure that they comply with regulatory requirements and to protect themselves and their customers from potential risks.
In KYM, it is to understand the needs, preferences and aspirations of association members to provide personalized value and enhance their membership experience. Associations collect information about their members’ professional interests, industry affiliations, career goals and other relevant data to tailor their services, events and resources to suit individual member requirements.
Here are some KYM elements:
1. Understanding the diversity of members. Associations are diverse ecosystems, comprising of individuals, professionals, businesses and organizations from various backgrounds and industries. To effectively serve their members, associations need to recognize and embrace this diversity. This involves understanding the unique challenges, interests and goals of different segments within the membership base.
Conducting surveys, focus groups and one-on-one conversations can provide valuable insights into members’ preferences, expectations and pain points. By having this knowledge, associations can tailor their offerings, programs and services to cater to the specific needs of each member segment.
2. Engaging members meaningfully. Gone are the days when associations could rely solely on annual conferences and newsletters to engage their members. In today’s digital age, meaningful engagement demands a multi-faceted approach. Online platforms, social media and personalized communications play a vital role in establishing and maintaining connections with members. Associations need to invest in interactive websites, discussion forums and virtual events that facilitate dialogue, knowledge-sharing and networking among members.
3. Customizing value propositions. Associations must go beyond one-size-fits-all approaches to deliver real value to their members. A personalized value proposition that aligns with each member’s interests and goals is crucial for retention and satisfaction.
Providing diverse benefits, such as educational resources, industry insights, certifications and career development opportunities, allows members to leverage the association’s resources to their advantage. Offering different membership tiers with tier-specific benefits can accommodate members’ varying needs and budgets.
4. Building a community of support. Beyond professional development and resources, associations provide an invaluable sense of community and support for their members. Encouraging collaboration, mentorship and peer-to-peer support can create a strong sense of belonging. Virtual and in-person networking events, online discussion groups and mentorship programs facilitate meaningful connections among members.
Associations that embrace the KYM ethos are better equipped to adapt to the ever-changing demands of their communities.
Octavio Peralta is currently the executive director of the Global Compact Network Philippines and founder and volunteer CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, the “association of associations.” PCAAE will hold its 11th Associations Summit at the PICC on December 6, 2023. E-mail: email@example.com.