5 Ways To Increase Association Membership Renewals

Emily Herrington

October 11, 2021

5 Ways To Increase Association Membership Renewals

While association recruitment strategies are vital for keeping the organization growing, evolving, and adopting fresh ideas, we can’t forget about retention. Without retained members, monthly revenue will be unpredictable, and the association’s culture will be kaput. As the adage goes, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” 

Recruiting new members feels shiny and sparkly, but continued service and engagement with your existing members are crucial for success and longevity. Read on for tips on how to increase membership renewals in your organization. 

1. Create an easy association membership renewal process 

Just like you’d create a simple sales process to drive more revenue, if you want more renewals, you need to build a smooth, frictionless renewal experience. The easier the process is, the more likely the member is to renew. 

One way to make membership renewals easier is by setting up automated membership reminders and even renewals (as long as the opt-in option is clearly stated). You don’t want to earn renewals through sneaky tactics, but auto-renew options are convenient for members and often their method of choice. From car insurance to Netflix, the subscription economy is robust and something your members are simply accustomed to. This is something worth polling your members about to get their feedback. 

If you do adopt auto-renewals, be sure to BE TRANSPARENT about it. Send email notifications ahead of debits, and be sure to let them know they’ve opted in for automatic payments at the beginning of the process. No one wants to see an unexpected charge on their credit card bill! 

2. Always provide value with your membership

Members who are engaged and consistently see the value of their membership are more likely to renew. If members don’t feel like they’re getting much bang for their buck when paying dues, not renewing is an easy decision to make. You should be constantly assessing the benefits your association offers, as well as their popularity and what your members are most interested in. 

We’ve got a plethora of resources on effective membership engagement strategies! Check out these member engagement tips:

3. Fight forgetfulness with a multi-channel renewal campaign

The most preventable reason for not renewing a membership is that the member simply forgot. Don’t let your members forget to renew! 

Automated renewal reminders should be a critical part of your email marketing strategy. However, email outreach shouldn’t be your one-and-done approach. For greater effectiveness, you should push renewals across multiple channels. For example, you can upload a list of members whose renewal dates are coming up, and target them with social media and display ads to remind them to renew. This helps them see your message even if they don’t receive your emails. You can also send automated SMS reminders, make phone calls, or send direct mail. 

4. Identify members who are most likely to churn, and reach out

Your organization may already have a set of identifiers or data points that help you pinpoint members who are least likely to renew. Whether it’s because they haven’t attended an event in the last year, haven’t logged into their membership portal in a while, or are generally inactive, create a list in your CRM of high-risk members, and reach out to them personally. A few months before their membership expires, check-in to see how they’re doing and remind them of the helpful solutions your association has tailored to their situation. Personalized communications with this member segment can help keep them on board. 

Tip: If possible, conduct exit interviews with members who have left your organization. This will help you understand the most common reasons for not renewing and will better help you address the concerns and pain points of the members who are on your churn-risk list. 

5. Create flexible payment options

Sometimes, “it’s not you, it’s me” is true. Even though members may want to remain a part of your association, there may be issues outside of your organization affecting their ability to renew. Oftentimes, membership costs can be a barrier. Whether they lost their job or stopped receiving a stipend from their employer, if you have engaged members who want to stay connected to your community, it’s worth creating options for them. This could include an installment plan, monthly payment options, an extended grace period, or even some sort of sponsorship/scholarship. 

Be empathetic and flexible, and remember that this is likely a period in which they need your association’s resources the most. Being helpful during this time can help build loyalty and positive feedback for your organization. 

Overall, if you want to increase your association membership renewals, taking a people-first approach can help you continue to serve your members with value and flexibility that keeps them happy for the long term.

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Emily Herrington

Emily Herrington is a New Orleans-based digital marketer specializing in SEO, content, and pay-per-click advertising. She can usually be found at her desk obsessing over data and rankings, or in the kitchen covered in flour.

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