The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. It is not a trade union but is a registered charity in England, Wales and in Scotland. The Society was formed in 1901 and has more than 45,000 members.
Through its Royal Charter, the Society is charged with overseeing psychology and psychologists. It has responsibility for the development, promotion and application of pure and applied psychology for the public good.
The Challenge of Independent Regulation
In February 2007, the Government announced through a White Paper that it would be introducing a legislation to make all psychologists subject to independent regulation. This was a role that the BPS had performed since it received its Royal Charter in 1965.
Suddenly it was faced with the prospect of a significant proportion of its 45,000 members no longer needing to remain members. The Society had until the next annual renewal in January 2008 to persuade its members to stay on board.
Fortunately, the BPS had already begun working with HAE when we undertook a thorough review of all membership processes working with the team to gain an understanding at both the detailed and big-picture levels. Through a series of tailored activities, we were able to unlock efficiency and growth opportunities and build a detailed business case for change that involved process and system improvements, enhanced member communications, changes to reporting and monitoring activities and set up campaigns to reinstate lapsed members as well as segmenting and prioritising the membership database - the building blocks for an enhanced, proactive renewal process.
So the foundations were already in place to deal with this potentially difficult situation.
BPS began by refining its message to members. The Government was sending out mixed messages and so the BPS was proving to be a reliable source of information for psychologists around the country who were concerned about what the changes would mean for their livelihoods. At the same time it was looking likely that being a member of the BPS during the time of the changeover would automatically qualify psychologists for registration.
By segmenting and prioritising the BPS member database in 2007, we were able to easily identify the population who were most likely not to renew. We looked at member grades, specialism, length of membership and other factors, and from this data, immediately picked out the high risk members. Once this was completed we implemented a new communication campaign and a selected number of these high risk members were immediately contacted by telephone.
A remarkable 87% of members renewed their membership immediately. This raised a considerable sum in subscription income for the BPS, but more importantly, also secured its position at a very difficult time.
During the time spent working with BPS, we were able to transfer our skills to their membership team so that looking ahead they are suitably equipped to grow their membership and offer an ever better service to those members. They are now becoming an organisation that people want to join, rather than one they have to join, and during these challenging times for the psychology profession look set to not only survive them, but to also thrive in them.
The BPS has benefitted through:
- Streamlined renewal processes
- Improved member communications
- Detailed implementation plan
- Options for restructuring, training and coaching the membership team
- Clear business case for enhanced member engagement to drive improvements in retention
- Intelligence to inform strategic direction Sustainable platform for growth
- Six-figure income generation through direct contact with lapsed members.