Pay Attention to Retention
Monday, March 22, 2021
Your association focuses on creating member value through programs, services, products, events, and education. Then, you chase after member growth to boost your community. But what good is member growth and value if you aren’t retaining your current member base? With the impact on events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining and growing dues revenue is more important than ever.
For many organizations, retention rates are slowly slipping because many do not realize there is a connection between member retention and engagement. Here are four suggestions for shoring up your organization’s retention game:
- Create a new member onboarding plan. New members need to understand the value and benefits they’re receiving as soon as they write the check—not at the end of the membership cycle when it’s time to make a decision. A series of touchpoints throughout the year can help ensure that new members feel welcome, understand the available benefits, and have multiple opportunities to engage in association activities like discussion forums, campaigns, and webinars. Touchpoints can include benefits brochures, local chapter information, membership certificates or badges, emails that highlight a specific benefit at a certain time of year, and more. Get creative, and think of ways you can personalize the information to a target membership group or demographic.
- Check-in with members regularly—especially the new ones. What are your new members expecting from membership, and how can you make sure you deliver it to them? How satisfied were your new members at the end of their membership cycle? Are they aware of all your offerings? What other needs do they have? Often, it’s a matter of informing your new member of a resource you offer that addresses their needs, or putting them in touch with a fellow member who can develop a peer or mentor relationship with that individual.
- Tap into new members’ new perspectives. New members bring new blood to an organization. Invite your new members to join a committee to get them engaged in the organization. Not only do committees offer valuable leadership experience, they also provide members with an active say in the organization’s direction and future. Committee members are more likely to renew their membership and serve as ambassadors for your organization.
- Consider more flexible membership models. In a world of on-demand, customized, personalized service, more and more members are expecting choice with their membership. Consider exploring multiple levels of membership with different dues rates to offer greater flexibility. The traditional annual membership model is evolving, and your organization should be, too.
Investing in new member growth is important, but focusing on retaining the members you already have creates long-term stability and reliable revenue.
Ande Leslie is a senior marketing manager at SmithBucklin.
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