I was very pleased to read this recent article in Associations Now by Joe Rominiecki about the Society of Hospital Medicine’s efforts to make their online join process easier. From the article:

Last year, [SHM] reduced its membership application from 64 data fields down to nine required fields. At the same time, it has become “more aggressive” about its ongoing data-integrity efforts. Ethan Gray, VP of membership, marketing, and communications at SHM, says it was time to shift its focus from the join phase to after.

I’ve written before about the dangers of trying to collect too much information from members and customers, especially during the join or event registration process. That’s why I was so pleased to see SHM reducing the number of required fields for their membership process.

As we all know, it’s much easier to retain and existing member than it is to recruit a new one. So why not make the JOIN as simple as possible? Once you’ve got them as a member, then you can ask for all that other data you [think you] need.