Former members represent a whole pool of potential new members who are a little easier to recruit. Why? They’re already familiar with your organization, so you don’t have to spend time explaining who you are and what you do!
That said, they left for a reason. Here are a few solutions for overcoming common non-renewal reasons when reaching out to your lapsed members:
REASON: Didn’t feel engaged.
SOLUTION: Enlist your active members.
According to Marketing General Incorporated’s 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, lack of engagement with the organization was the top cited reason for not renewing membership. This probably comes as no surprise - it’s a common frustration! And you’ve probably tried a number of things to engage members so they never leave in the first place.
Have you ever thought about enlisting your active members in a re-engagement campaign? Here are a few angles to try:
- Show a tangible examples of a member getting value out of their membership.
- Ask them to call former members they had a relationship with.
- Ask them to call former members they’re similar to. (Job role, age, needs, etc.)
REASON: Cost was too high.
SOLUTION: Offer a discount.
Whether it’s personal finances or an employer who’s stopped paying for dues, cost is another big reason for leaving. Offering a discount is a quick and easy way to encourage your lapsed members to come back!
Consider even extending the discount over a few membership periods as a sort of “bulk” discount. (For example, purchasing a three-year membership at $100 off per year.) That way you can count on their renewal for three years (or so), and they’ll enjoy extra savings!
REASON: Missing specific benefits.
SOLUTION: Talk about new benefits.
Chances are, you’ve introduced some new or enhanced benefits since they left. Hype them up when talking to lapsed members, and be sure to include a testimonial or two from current members!
This should be easy if you’ve been conducting member exit surveys. Look back to your records and see what benefits members have noted were missing from their experience. You can use that information to do a mass campaign, or individual outreach!
REASON: Didn’t understand membership value.
SOLUTION: Show them a list quantifying your benefits.
Sometimes members simply can’t see the return on their dues investment, so they leave because they think they aren’t getting anything out of it. But you can easily demonstrate that value by assigning a dollar amount to each benefit! Take a look at our guide on tiered dues for some simple steps.
Once you’ve gone through the process, keep a list to use as a tool when this comes up in conversation with lapsed (and current!) members. This is also where your association management software comes in handy. Many systems allow you to pull a report for each member that shows how much they’ve gotten out of your organization in dollars! Dig into yours to see if this is an option.
REASON: They’ve retired.
SOLUTION: Create a new membership type.
Retired members of your industry or community are an incredibly valuable resource, and should be treated as such! However, it’s likely they won’t need most of the benefits you offer. Create a new retiree membership type that is cheaper and includes less (or just different) benefits than a regular membership!
Alternatively, retirees are also great volunteers and speakers for conferences and panels. Consider some kind of trade agreement where they’ll receive certain benefits in exchange for helping out a few times a year.
Whatever you do, be sure your communications are personal. These folks were once a part of your organization: It wouldn’t be a good look if you treated them like a stranger! For more tips on improving how you engage members (lapsed and active), download our membership engagement guide!