Using a “Tell a Friend” Strategy to Tap ASHRM’s Valuable Recruiting Asset

Using a “Tell a Friend” Strategy to Tap ASHRM’s Valuable Recruiting Asset
American Society for Healthcare Risk Management logo on a red background


While the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) serves a niche industry, it also faces market competition and a crowded field that is saturated with communications. Looking to differentiate itself, ASHRM retained McKinley to develop a strategy to raise awareness for the organization and communicate its unique value to key constituents.

To develop the strategy and plan, McKinley collected input from key ASHRM leaders through interviews, reviewed past member research, conducted an electronic survey with members, analyzed the data and collaborated with ASHRM to ensure recommendations aligned with organizational and environmental realities. The resulting plan highlighted specific marketing opportunities and strategies. Survey statistics showed that ASHRM had a strong reputation and that a significant percentage of members had originally joined based on the recommendation of a colleague. As a result, one of McKinley’s recommendations included capitalizing on this strength by implementing a word-of-mouth recruitment campaign.

With a deep understanding of ASHRM’s previous research and expert association knowledge in place, McKinley was re-engaged in 2010 to develop and track a “Tell a Friend” email campaign to build on the word-of-mouth potential of ASHRM members. McKinley worked with a graphic design resource and developed the concept and copy for the campaign, which included a website component, an advertisement and two pieces of marketing collateral.


Using a break-even analysis, McKinley determined that ASHRM would have to recruit 15 new members to cover the cash incentives provided to the top recruiters and the administrative costs associated with the campaign. The implemented plan far exceeded this point. ASHRM recruited 109 new members during the campaign, which equaled a 663% ROI for this specific marketing campaign investment.

“We really did not want this to be a one-time event. McKinley helped us develop a process that is repeatable, which should benefit us in years to come.”
Kara Clark
Former Executive Director