Recruiting and maintaining members for your association year after year can be a ton of work. An efficient membership renewal plan should be a top priority for any organization. Spend your time and energy on more important things, such as your organization’s goals and values.
Here are five ways to help your association see a high return on membership renewal.
Whether your association has ten members or 1,000 members, organizing all of their information in one place is key. Make sure your membership database is up-to-date, and have a system for asking your current members to update contact information. This will prevent you from losing out on renewal because of an easily avoidable miscommunication.
Consider moving membership information to an online database system, or a helpful virtual app such as Kindful. Kindful Donor Management Software makes it easy for organizations to keep track of past and current donors and all of their contact information, and also easily connects to Mailchimp and Quickbooks.
These programs can save you a lot of time when it comes to renewal reminders, collecting dues, and data retrieval.
[Related: Six Helpful Virtual Tools for Nonprofits]
In order to encourage renewal year after year, an association should know their members and their preferences. Do your members prefer email reminders or direct mail? In this day and age, sending multiple paper pamphlets and newsletters is not necessarily eco-friendly, and your hard work and important information could quickly find itself in the recycling bin. Virtual newsletters and webinars are great at keeping your organization sustainable and effectively spread knowledge.
Believe it or not, a lot of individuals continue to prefer phone calls regarding their membership. One MemberZone survey from 2017 reported that 66% of association respondents used a phone call from volunteers, staff, or even board members to get a member to renew.
[Related: The Importance of Virtual Meetings]
Renewing membership shouldn’t feel like a chore. Keeping things easy and quick will help increase the rate of prompt renewals.
If your renewal is on an annual cycle, send an email to all members with a link and simple instructions. Announce the annual renewal date in advance via your association’s social media accounts, website, or newsletter. If your renewal is on a rolling cycle, consider using membership management software. Use this to send an automatic reminder to each individual closer to their membership anniversary.
Allowing new members to opt for an automatic renewal after their yearly membership is also an option that makes it easy for members to renew, and takes some work off of your plate as well.
If your organization has different membership levels, providing an incentive or discount at a higher level could encourage not only renewals, but possibly membership upgrades as well.
While you don’t want to feel like you are selling memberships in exchange for goods, incentives that follow along the lines of your association’s values and goals are important. These will not only inspire membership renewal and upgrade, but also provide a little more of a push to individuals on the fence about becoming a member.
Before choosing your membership or tier incentives, make sure you know what members will find of value when joining your organization. Here are a few examples of valued member incentives:
- Educational services and job training
- Personalized discounts
- Exclusive newsletters and industry reports
- Industry and local business discounts
- Premiere peaks at new products or services
[Related: How to Collect Helpful Member Feedback]
Finally, member appreciation might be the most important factor in membership renewal. People want to know that their time, thoughts, and money are not going unnoticed. Making members feel appreciated will keep them coming back, and help hold you in high regard as an association who cares.
Make sure to regularly thank members for their involvement and support, whether it’s with thank you cards in the mail or a friendly email message. Gather feedback and make it known that you’re here to listen by sending out yearly or biyearly member surveys. Ask how your association can improve and what member benefits people would like to see.
A successful association depends on the hard work and passion of all those involved. By recruiting and maintaining members year after year, your association ensures not only financial assistance, but also the support of an entire community. Ensure that membership retention rates stay high by keeping an organized member database, engaging in effective and easy communication, and showing your members some well-deserved appreciation.