Seven Opportunities to Improve Membership Renewals and Save Money


Today, I thought I would share some practical renewal tips that we have put in place for our clients to help increase renewals and save them some money.  Most are pretty practical steps that you may want to consider in developing or revising your membership renewal series.  The tips are written assuming the renewal program is based on a month of anniversary renewal system, but the ideas would also apply to a simple calendar year renewal system also. 

Here are seven tips to help make your renewal series more efficient and effective.

  1. A month before you begin sending out your print renewal notices, send out a renewal email.  This allows early birds a chance to renew before the costs of printing and postage are incurred by you.  This early renewal can come with some type of incentive to reward the prompt response. 
  2. To save postage and avoid managing lots of inventory, send out notices (months 9 to 16) in one zip string. This means that you will need to use a common envelope size, form, and inserts each month for all notices that are sent out whether it is the first or last notice in the series.
  3. Vary the messages and images on these common renewal forms using variable laser copy. This allows the copy and voice to change with each individual notice depending on who is receiving the renewal and what step they are in the series. The messages can focus on special offers or unique benefits and become more forceful with each subsequent month in the series.
  4. To change the appearance of your renewal mailings, we manufacture the same size envelope for renewals, but simply use a variety of paper colors. So a different color envelope goes out each month. In January, for example, all of the renewals in the series might be sent out in a yellow envelope.
  5. Likewise six different versions of a renewal buck slip are printed six up on 11 x 17 inch sheets then cut. This allows for a different buck slip to be rotated into the renewals over a six month period highlighting a specific member benefit. The July version of a buck slip might highlight the benefits of the organization’s online community.
  6. Use an oversized window to allow the variable headline copy to show through the renewal envelope. The effective of this is to provide a personalized teaser message to each renewal cohort each month.
  7. Finally, our Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey confirmed the effectiveness of higher frequency renewal programs. The data indicated that the sweet spot was between seven and ten renewal contacts.

If you would like to discuss ideas to improve your organization’s membership renewals, please feel free to contact me.  You can send me an email at

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