Many associations and nonprofits recognize they serve an ever-changing membership facing complex challenges with less time, higher demands, and fewer resources. In order to thrive and meet their members’ needs, growing associations consistently seek to understand the issues their members face so they can better serve them.

Ellipsis Partners LLC is known throughout the association sector as exemplary counsel in guiding organizations towards thoughtful interactions with members, through technology, communications, and tailored services. Our focus on Design Thinking gives organizations the opportunity to deeply understand the day-to-day and long-term concerns facing members. This then allows organizations to design services, products, communications, and interactions that help them address those concerns and solve members’ problems.

Our Services

Member Surveys

Ellipsis Partners works closely with our clients to develop, craft, implement, and analyze member surveys. Each survey is uniquely designed with your organization’s goals in the forefront. Our surveys will help you glean actionable data and provide insight to better understand the needs of your members, their satisfaction with programs and resources, and more broadly, the value they derive from membership.

Member Focus Groups

Small group of women meeting in a conference room
Focus Groups provide a chance to gather direct input from members on the goals, needs, and frustrations in their professional lives. We ask participants about their daily work, long-term goals, and seek to identify common barriers members face in their work. Also, we ask focus group members to evaluate their interactions with the association.

Member Experience Audit

An Ellipsis Partners Member Experience Audit allows an organization to deeply understand both their members’ day-to-day and long-term challenges, and how the association can help solve those problems by providing new initiatives, services, and additional means of connection.
A member experience audit is designed to:
  • Assess the touchpoints of members with an association, and determine how frequent, positive, and useful they are.
  • Identify the interactions and services that create the most value for members or constituents.
  • Unearth problems, barriers, or slowdowns that cause frustration.
  • Understand members’ greater needs, to identify new services and additional value opportunities that the organization could provide.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a methodology that allows associations to develop services that truly meet member needs by deeply understanding and defining the issues they face and taking an iterative approach to developing solutions to those issues.

Design Thinking involves five steps:


Develop a deep understanding of the challenge.


Clearly articulate the problem you want to solve.


Brainstorm potential solutions. Select and develop your solution.


Design a prototype to test your solution.


Engage in a continuous short-cycle innovation process to continually improve your design.

Our Process


In this phase, we set the stage for the project, learning about your organization’s work, members, strategic goals, and tactical objectives.

Persona Development

We work with your team to develop key personas, reflecting the critical differences between members by area of practice, age, gender, job level, geography, and other characteristics.

Member Focus Groups

Focus groups provide a chance to gather direct input from members on the goals, needs, and frustrations in their professional lives. We ask participants about their daily work, long-term goals, and seek to identify common barriers members face. Also, we ask focus group members to consider and evaluate their interactions with the association.

Member Journey Mapping

Journey mapping is the process of understanding, visualizing, and documenting the path a member takes to experience your product or service and how they feel along the way. The goal is to understand the customer’s journey from each specific persona’s perspective so you can design a better experience for them in the future.

Problem Definition

We combine all of the previous research into a set of clearly defined member challenges. We conduct workshops to dig deeply into the issues identified, ensuring that we’ve covered all facets. Out of this, we articulate problem statements that pinpoint the way toward developing new products, services, and interactions for members.


Our recommendations will comprise an overall analysis and plan for your organization. Ellipsis Partners identifies the high-level issues, overall goals, and proposed strategies to achieve your desired outcomes. Our recommendations will be based on a vision of providing powerful member value and enhancing the member experience across all constituencies.

Member Engagement:
Strategy & Planning

Ellipsis Partners helps organizations improve and increase engagement with their members through advanced strategy and planning services.

Many of our clients want to achieve a deep and comprehensive strategy focused on understanding member needs, improving membership structure and services, and ensuring a communications plan that provides conveys the strength of their brand and the value of membership to current and future members.

Ellipsis Partners offers a forward-thinking advisory team that can accurately assess current policies and practices and then provide practical yet innovative, step-by-step guidance that will help our clients achieve their goals.

We begin by understanding different types of members, how they are currently served and what they value.
We analyze your current communications content and strategy and make recommendations on how to effectively incorporate a wide variety of organizational content across multi-platform communications channels.
We evaluate members’ utilization of products and services measured against industry trends and norms.
We contrast member readiness for alterations or additions to these benefits and services against organizational capacity to deliver these tools in future states.
We assess the value your organization offers to members and how that could be improved and communicated.