Are renewal incentives a good idea?

I read a posting on the ASAE Membership Listserve asking about “kinds” of renewal incentives to use. While I’m not against using (and have used) renewal incentives, I think that, if an association is delivering value, the ‘incentive’ is being realized throughout the year (you may want to test adjusting your renewal copy to indicate just that).

Incentives are great tools to provide that ‘little something extra’ to get someone to try something new or join. But, if after using the resources of the association for a year you still need to provide a ‘little something extra’ to get people to come back, perhaps you’re missing something? (In fact, here’s a thought: if you use a premium, perhaps you segment off those members who renewed to the premium offer and place them in an “intensive” engagement program” then try to renew them without the premium? Just a thought.)

That “something” could be pricing, the wrong people joined, lack of knowledge as to the resources provided by the association, inability to use/find resources to solve their issues (why they joined), left the company/industry, etc.(this feeds directly into using the MEMBERSHIP LIFECYCLE as a strategic diagnostic tool. If you’d like to learn more about it, I’d be happy to forward some information).

In all of these cases, I don’t really see a renewal premium as the ‘silver bullet,’ but I do see the need to analyze who is not renewing by:

• Who joined (title, company, etc.)?

• When they joined?

• Why they joined?

• Have they participated in the association?

• To what extent have they participated?

• Who is paying for their membership?

• How long have they been members?

• etc.

With that said, if you use a premium go with one that links directly to the value proposition – information, career tool, etc. And keep it inexpensive, renewals are about increasing ROI.

That’s my two-cents.

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