Almost all organizations would like to increase their membership, and according to the 2017 Marketing General benchmark report, far more are seeing increases than decreases - 46% compared with 25%. This has been the case for nine consecutive years. Membership retention is an important part of that, with the report showing a median retention rate of 84%. Challenges most frequently cited by organizations trying to retain and grow their membership include insufficient staff, an inadequate member database, difficulty maintaining younger members, and providing sufficient value to members.

Here are ideas that can improve membership retention by providing greater convenience and value to members:

  1. implement auto-renewal
  2. introduce multi-year renewal plans - 1 year, 2 year and 3 year rates
  3. personally follow-up with recently lapsed members and try to win them back. If you can't, find out why. This is valuable information that can be used to refine your retention and member engagement strategies.
  4. offer members an incentive to renew by a specific date. This can be done by offering an 'early bird' rate or a discount towards a future event or course offering.
  5. offer a discount to archived members to get them back -- CAUTION: you don't want people to "archive" because they know you'll offer an incentive. This may be a good 'one-time' promotion to clean-up your archived member list.

How easy does your association make it for members to stay current?