Relevance and value. These two words, when combined, are powerful in any organization that is looking to deliver a blockbuster member experience.

"Important to the matter at hand" and "relative worth, merit or importance" is how defines these two words. How do we define relevance and value in our organizations, and how do we keep our boards focused on what matters most?

Asking the question

In every board meeting, decisions are being made around policies, programs, services, staffing and other important items that affect your members' perception of the organization. But, at every decision point, we need to ask this question:

Is this decision or action going to provide both relevance and value to our members and stakeholders?

This is not an "and/or" question as something may be valuable to your members, but it may not be relevant. For example, we can send unique cooking recipes weekly to our members, but if our nonprofit organization is dedicated to serving widget manufacturers, the recipes may be valuable to some members who love to cook but irrelevant to the rest.

Asking this question around every decision made by your organization leads you to the path of doing what matters most for your members.

Beginning with planning

Relevance and value begins and ends with your strategic planning efforts, as it is the road map in guiding the organization to that special place that ends with increased member value. During the planning session, the question around relevance and value for each goal and strategy needs to be central and top-of-mind.

If we begin with relevance and value, we are better able to focus on it after the session and end with a plan truly focused to make our organizations competitive and matter to our members.

Measuring with satisfaction

The only way to know we have provided relevance and value is to ask our members and stakeholders if they are receiving a return on their dues dollar investment. That is a true measure of satisfaction.

Satisfaction levels should increase as we tie decisions to relevance and value and should be a key question in any needs assessment survey. Tracking this key metric year over year allows your organization to make meaningful adjustments to programs, benefits and services.

Ending with the beginning

Relevance and value change and need to be reassessed on a regular basis. The question to ask again is:

How have our members' needs changed to impact the relevance and value of our programs, benefits and services?

Asking this question (and the first question mentioned earlier) creates a never-ending loop of assessment that continues to focus toward the essence of what we do in our organizations: deliver sustained value.

As member demographics and needs change, so must our organizations. Relevance and value are just two words, but combined, a mantra for excellence in your organization.