Membership renewal season is approaching: Do your members know all their benefits?
Your association might be on an anniversary membership renewal cycle. Or maybe membership renewal is based on an annual calendar date. But no matter what your renewal model, one thing is certain: Member retention is key to your association’s long-term success.
So, what makes members feel as if they can’t afford to leave? They need to believe they’re getting value.
This is especially important today.
According to the 2022 Association Trends Study by Community Brands, member loyalty has softened a bit. Findings from the study indicate that during the pandemic, members looked to their organization as a beacon in uncertain times. And while loyalty is still strong, 48 percent of members in the study now say their organization is more important than it was a year ago – down from 53 percent in 2021. This suggests that as the world emerges from the effects of the pandemic, associations must continue to prove their value.
What can you do to convey the value you provide so your members will keep renewing? Here are five member retention tips:
1. Highlight key features and benefits of membership
Before you send billing reminders or invoices, remind your members of the benefits and value they receive from your organization. This is a great opportunity to segment your list and send targeted messages. For example:
- Remind members of the benefits they have not yet taken advantage of, and that there’s still time to do so. Highlight any new programs, publications, or other benefits that you might have added within the past year in case the members have missed them.
- Reinforce the value of membership by reminding members of the benefits they have taken advantage of, such as event discounts and learning opportunities.
- Let members know about the upcoming events and opportunities they’ll miss out on if they do not renew.
This approach will help to keep benefits at the forefront of your members’ minds when the renewal deadline rolls around.
2. Rethink your value proposition.
In addition to reminding members of the benefits your organization provides, it’s important to share a vision of how membership will improve a members’ career and life. Set aside time to review your value proposition to ensure it’s still relevant to today’s members. Also, reassess your member benefits and engagement opportunities to ensure they support your value proposition and continue to provide the value that members seek.
3. Use your newsletter.
Be sure to use your association newsletter to its fullest potential all year long. Your newsletter is a benefit in and of itself, as it gives your members a firsthand look at education, events, and resources that you offer. It’s also a great place to reinforce your value proposition by highlighting achievements in your organization, such as job movement and success stories.
Your newsletter is also the perfect spot to highlight your association’s benefits around job and career advancement opportunities, which are among the top member benefits year after year according to the 2022 Association Trends Study. For example, showcase your online job board by including a link to it in the newsletter, making it easy for your members to click and view the latest job postings and career news for the industry.
4. Put your membership education and networking events to work.
Education and networking events are great opportunities to showcase your member benefits. For example, your membership director or executive director can be stationed at your events to be a resource for membership and benefit questions.
Another way to relay your member benefits is to print them on the back of your event name badges. This helps remind your members of the value your organization provides and can also be a great way for prospective members who attend to see what your association can provide for them.
5. Step up your onboarding process.
Keep in mind that members’ first interactions with your association can impact membership renewals as well. Those early interactions make a lasting impression on new members and can provide the foundation you need to build a relationship that lasts for years to come.
In addition to thanking members for joining, make them feel at home right away by sending them a welcome email that includes things like:
- A reminder of the benefits they receive as a member of your association
- Important dates, such as your annual conference
- What communications they can expect to receive from you
- Links to online resources, such as your calendar of events, your career center, and your member community
Also, if your association has a membership committee or other onboarding committee, make sure they have a process in place to reach out to new members to welcome them and answer any questions they might have about being a member.
These are all highly effective ways to communicate your association’s value to members. These simple steps will increase awareness of your benefits, association brand, and membership value.
Learn more tips and ideas for boosting membership retention.
Read the guide, An Association’s Guide to Membership Renewal.