Member renewals are one of the most important tasks of any association’s business. It is easier to keep a current member than to recruit a new one.
Whether you have individual memberships or organizational ones, it can be challenging to get dues payments in a timely manner. If your renewals are on a rolling basis, this can be even harder to track. Plus, you must make sure that lapsed members are not allowed access to member-only benefits. It is exhausting, frustrating and necessary.
So how can you get those dues dollars to roll in without stressing out?
Invoice the way your member prefers
Determining if a member wants to receive their invoice in an email or by postal mail is one of the most important determinants of getting paid. While your association may find it simpler to email everyone and save the cost of postage, there are still members who will only pay from an invoice that is printed and mailed to them. Send it as they want it, and you are more likely to get that renewal.
Know who to invoice
If yours is a trade association, there could be more than one person who you engage with. Make sure you identify who is the financial contact so the invoice gets in front of the person who will pay it.
Engage, Engage, Engage
Members who are using their benefits, connecting with other members and getting value out of their membership will renew. We all know this, but what are you doing to track member engagement?
Renewals are a year-round job
Check in with your members throughout the year. Find a reason to reach out or just say “hello” once or twice a year. Track to see if the emails you send are being opened. Do you have the correct email address? If they don’t see your emails, then they won’t know what is going on and they won’t get engaged.
Apply peer pressure
Members respond best to their colleagues, so use your most engaged members (board members, committee members, past-presidents, avid fans) to connect with others in your association. If you worry that a member is in danger of dropping out, ask another member to give them a call and encourage them to get involved.
Pretend you work at a collection agency
This is the toughest part of the job, but absolutely necessary if you want to retain members. Once you get to 60 days past due it is time to start working the phone. Track down that member and ask them to pay their renewal fee. Don’t assume that if they didn’t pay, they are cancelling their membership. Most of the time they just did not get around to it, did not see the invoice, have a financial challenge and need a temporary dues reduction, etc. etc. etc. By speaking with your member, you will most likely retain them. And that is a job well done.