A member retention strategy is just as important as a member acquisition strategy. According to customer relationship expert Frederick Reichheld, organisations can increase their revenue by as much as 100 per cent just by retaining five per cent of their members. Therefore associations must ensure they provide adequate member benefits and incentives for members to renew.
Here are some tips for retaining members:
1. Remind members of the benefits
Members should constantly be reminded of the benefits of their membership year-round but particularly before they are due to renew their membership, which is usually every financial or calendar year. A simple way to do this is to provide a summary of the benefits that members have received in the previous year, and what they can look forward to in the coming year, alongside the membership renewal form.
2. Keep your promises
Make sure your association lives up to its promised membership benefits otherwise your members will feel dissatisfied and will be unlikely to renew their membership.
3. Provide value beyond the expected benefits
Members expect benefits from your association, such as regular and relevant industry updates, discounted events, networking opportunities and government lobbying. These are their reasons for joining however members stay because their interaction with your association is positive and they believe the investment is worthwhile. This means providing additional value, including useful resources such as a journal or magazine.
4. Create a sense of belonging to foster loyalty
Members that feel they are an integral part of their association’s community develop a sense of loyalty to their association. Creating a sense of community around your association can be achieved by allowing members to come together and talk to you and to each other. This can be achieved through both online platforms and face-to-face at member events. Another simple way is to provide lapel pins to all members so they can proudly display their membership with the association and feel part of a community.
5. Make your association relevant
Members need to feel that their membership holds personal relevance. Associations can foster this by creating special events for special interest groups of the association, such as a ‘young professionals’ or ‘women’ groups. This allows members to fell recognised and part of a personally identifiable group.
6. Strategic renewal campaigns
An annual renewal campaign is a time to remind members of the benefits of being a member. It’s also an opportunity to provide members with an incentive to renew their membership. Popular incentives include: free registration to the first networking event of the year, membership discount, free gift and exclusive benefits such as an industry whitepaper.
7. Create membership levels for members to aspire to
Members are more likely to remain members if they feel they will be rewarded for their commitment. This could include the prestige and privileges of a senior membership level.
8. Reward loyalty
Make long-time members feel valued. This could be as simple as providing professional certificates for 10, 15 and 20 years of being a member. The certificates are likely to be framed and displayed in members’ offices or homes with a sense of pride and achievement. Alternatively you could offer awards for long-term members at your event or gala dinner.
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