You know the importance of membership retention, but do you have a formal membership retention plan? Do you have tactical steps in place that you’re actively completing to boost membership renewals? If not, you may want to consider creating one, particularly so you and your staff have something concrete to reference (and improve upon) throughout the year.
This idea came about in an educational session at CalSAE’s 2017 ELEVATE, where Dave Kilby, President and CEO of the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.) spoke about tactics for boosting membership retention. One of his ideas: to create a formal membership retention plan.
Now a membership retention plan will look different for every association, but regardless of what tactics you have in place, a good membership retention plan should span an entire membership year (and perhaps even longer depending on whether or not you offer a grace period and/or actively communicate with lapsed members). You may even have two membership retention plans: one for new members and one for members who’ve been active for two or more years.
Below is an example of what a membership retention plan could look like for new members at your association. (Note: This only covers six months, as opposed to a full membership year.)
- Send them a welcome email
- Give them a phone call
- Welcome them on social media and/or in your organization’s newsletter
- Invite them to an event
- Send them a targeted email (based on the interests they checked when filling out the member application form)
- Follow up with another phone call to check in and see how they’re doing
- Invite them to a new member orientation (either in-person or via webinar)
- Send them another targeted email (with relevant and valuable content)
- Invite them to another webinar or event
- Pair them with a member mentor (if they haven’t been paired already)
- Send them a personalized email highlighting a specific benefit or area of your website that will help them specifically (for example, if they’re a student member, direct them to your job board)
- Take a look at who’s at risk (based on involvement - new member orientation attendance, webinar attendance, etc.)
- Survey your new members - ask them what benefits they’re utilizing, what they’d like to see from your association, etc.
Now after the six-month mark is where things will get serious. That’s when you’ll need to start sending out renewal reminders, offering renewal incentives, offering referral incentives, etc. In fact, you’ll probably have more tactics in the last six (or more) months than you did in the first half of the year. That’s totally normal and crucial to maintain a healthy membership retention rate.
Do you have a membership retention plan at your association? If so, we’d love to hear about some of the tactics you use in the comments below!
Need help with membership renewals and retention? Check out our free guide, 8 Steps to Solid Member Retention! In it, you’ll learn when to begin your renewal efforts, what marketing channels generate the most renewals, what analytics you should be paying close attention to, and more!