3 Membership Renewal Best Practices for Associations

If you’re wondering how to increase your member retention, keep reading. In this blog, you’ll learn how to retain members through membership retention strategies and membership renewal best practices. When renewal and retention are done well, it can be a contribrutor to increasing your overall membership.

To start, let’s review the top reasons members don’t renew according to our latest benchmarking data:

  1. Lack of engagement
  2. Could not justify membership costs
  3. Left the field, industry, or profession
  4. Budget cuts/economic hardship

Not sure why your members don’t renew? Ask.

In addition to understanding the top reasons members don’t renew across the board, seek to uncover the particular hindrances facing your own association’s member retention. Consider sending out a survey or using a Bulletin Board Focus Group to gain lapsed member insights.

How to Retain Members: 3 Membership Renewal Best Practices

In this section, we explain how to retain members by reviewing four membership renewal best practices.

1. Keep Members Engaged

The number one reason members don’t renew is due to a lack of engagement. Meaning, if your members aren’t engaged throughout the year, they’re less likely to renew when the time comes. A continuous membership engagement strategy will support membership retention.

Here are some ways you can begin engaging your members throughout the year:

  • Start an online community
  • Create a member directory
  • Send a new member email series
  • Share content on social media
  • Enable blog comments
  • Conduct member surveys
  • Host in-person member events/receptions

Email and social media are two of the best ways to effectively engage with your members. By sending emails regularly, you’ll (1) communicate valuable resources, (2) showcase your impact, (3) promote upcoming events and member benefits. According to Pew Research, 72% of people use social media. Tap into the various audiences available on social media to build a community around your association.

For more tips on member engagement, read our blogs: 8 Member Engagement Ideas for Organizations and How to Measure Member Engagement.

2. Use Varied Channels of Communication

Another one of our renewal best practices is to avoid using just one channel of communication as you begin developing membership retention strategies. Using multiple channels to communicate with members is more important than ever because of the noise of competing messages, spam filters, and gatekeepers.

The baseline channel that every association should use is a simple mailed notice that reminds members about their benefits and the dues amount. Email is used for renewals by nearly all associations (98%). And 57% of associations also use staff phone calls for renewals.

In addition to these efforts, an increasing number of associations run paid digital ads to a list of members who are up for renewal to remind them to act. And while only 13% of associations use telemarketing as a renewal channel, associations reporting increases in renewals over the past year are most likely to utilize this channel.

It’s helpful to use multiple channels of communication because you’ll have a better chance of getting the attention of your members. Some may have spam filters that trash your email, but if you also send them a letter, they’re more likely to get your message about membership renewals. Using multiple channels is more important than ever due to all of the digital noise these days.

Tip: Emails are overwhelmingly considered the channel that garners the most membership renewals (82%).

3. Offer Payment Options

Many associations substantially increased their renewal rates by offering different payment options. Our data show that 34% of associations offer installment renewal payments either on a monthly or quarterly basis. And 37% of associations offer an automatic annual credit card renewal option. These options can dramatically improve renewal rates.

Marketing General Incorporated: Your Member Retention Experts

Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) is the nation’s largest marketing agency working exclusively with membership associations. For nearly 45 years, MGI has helped hundreds organizations raise new member counts, improve retention, increase member engagement, grow revenue, and gain new insights through market research and analysis.

Using time-tested best practices, innovative new approaches, and continual testing, we are constantly building on our findings and experiences to offer even better solutions. MGI brings incomparable expertise to every aspect of membership marketing.

To evaluate your membership marketing strategies and tactics, download MGI’s 2022 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report written for individual and trade association leaders.

Interested in partnering with the experts in member retention, reinstatement, recruitment, and engagement? Request a membership consultation today.

Request a Membership Consultation