As an association professional, there are many things you can be doing to recruit new members. But similarly, there are also many things you can be doing (maybe some you’re not even aware of) that can actually drive members away.
In fact, here are three ways to actually lose your association’s members…
1. Not evolving with the times
Whether we like it or not, the world we live in is constantly changing. And so is your association’s membership. Baby Boomers are entering retirement and new generations - Millennials and Gen Z-ers - are filling that workforce gap. Is your association keeping pace with that change?
What does “keeping pace” actually look like? Well for starters, it means catering to the wants and needs of those rising generations. That may mean switching up your benefits a little. Take some time to evaluate your association’s benefits portfolio. What benefits are people actually taking advantage of? What benefits can your members get elsewhere? What benefits are you currently not offering, but that could fill some void or assist in some need for your members and potential members? In order to stay relevant - and keep members - these are all worth considering.
Keeping pace with the times also means keeping up with the latest technology. Having a mobile-friendly website. Offering a user-friendly event app. Remember, people are constantly comparing your association to companies like Amazon and eBay. They’re used to free two-day shipping and personalized messages (“You may be interested in…”). Consumer expectations are rising, and to keep members, it’s crucial to evolve with that.
2. Not segmenting your communications
Going off point #1 a little, not segmenting your communications is a great way to drive members away. If your messages aren’t targeted and you aren’t addressing people’s specific wants and needs, they’re likely to start tuning your association out - and that’s the first step on the path to not renewing.
On the flip side of that, let’s say your members DO continue to read all of your emails, even the ones that don’t really appeal or apply to them (for example, sending a VP-level member an email promoting a young professionals meet-up). Well, they may start to interpret that as, “Why am I paying for all of these benefits I’m not using?” (Another dangerous mindset to get into.)
The good news, though, is this: With the right technology in place (such as an association management system), it’s actually very easy to segment your association’s communications. You can segment your membership by generation, geography, member type, etc. And the more of that you’re able to do, the more engagement you’re likely to see.
3. Focusing on the “what” and forgetting the “why”
Too often, associations get caught up in WHAT they’re offering: a webinar, a new industry report, a networking reception, etc. But they forget to emphasize the why; why it’s beneficial to members. A webinar to sharpen your skills. A new industry report to keep you ahead of the curve. A networking reception to help you connect with your peers and industry leaders.
See how there’s value in all of that? By reminding your members of the why, they’ll be more likely to stick around and renew. (By not renewing, they’re not just giving up webinars. They’re giving up the opportunity to sharpen their skills - a much bigger loss.)
At the end of the day, no one wants to lose members. For more tips on boosting retention, check out our free Membership Retention Kit below!