Gaining new members for your association is an important and necessary goal. It’s often a topic that dominates meetings and is at the forefront of association professionals’ minds. It’s one thing to come up with ideas and tactics to gain new members and a whole other issue to keep members renewing. It’s a great thing to have new members join, but keeping them is vital for the survival of the association. Here are three reasons members leave:
1. Value Perception
If members don’t feel like their dues are worth their membership, they will leave. The burden to provide value and communicate that value to members falls on the association. Membership dues have to be justifiable. What do members get in return? Some value adds to membership could include discounts on conference, exclusive member resources, and free networking events. There needs to be something that comes with a membership that keeps members wanting to come back each year. Your renewal rate will improve if you can find what that is for your association members.
2. Renewal System
The problem with your retention rate could be caused by how renewals are handled. The association needs a solid plan and procedure to ensure members know when and how to renew their membership. A series of scheduled emails, phone calls, or a mix of the two can help ensure members are aware their renew date is approaching. Direct mail can also be a tool used depending on the association demographic. The point is to have multiple touch points for members so they have multiple opportunities to renew. If you have a system set up to reach members for renewals and members still don’t renew, find out why. Send out a survey to see if the factors in their decision are anything the association can improve on or change.
3. Member Engagement
What ways are you engaging members and keeping them in the loop? This point can go back to points 1 and 2. Members may find value in communication, such as weekly or monthly newsletters and renewal reminders. Engaging members makes them feel valued. What other ways can you engage your membership? It could be having member-contributed content or asking for feedback after conferences or webinars. Utilizing social media is another way to engage members. Offer quality content to your members, such as industry and association news and blog posts. Social media gives members the opportunity to interact directly with the association and other members.
Members leave for a number of reasons. Some reasons you can prevent and others are out of your control. By taking a look at your association’s value perception, renewal system, and member engagement, you can minimize the number of members leaving. The next time you have a membership strategy meeting, discuss not only how to get new members, but how to turn those new members into long time members.