Member Retention

Every association goes through periods of fluctuation with their membership depending on the year and what else is going on in the world.  During this current recessionary climate, I have seen associations from very different industries lose significant amounts of members.  The one thing that I always try to do when someone chooses not to renew is to find out why.  By asking the non-renewing member why they have decided not to continue their affiliation with the association, I am able to better identify a member’s motivation, which in turn helps avoid similar issues in the future.

In recent years, I have found that the biggest reason why people haven’t renewed their memberships in associations is simply because they don’t have the money to spend on membership dues anymore.  Their industry may have taken a hit and they can no longer justify spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on membership dues in associations.  Many have also been members of multiple associations and there has just been too much competition for the same dollar.

Therefore, to ensure your association is not the one getting dropped, you must make sure your members perceive the benefits they receive outweigh the costs of their membership.  Reminding your members throughout the year what their membership is paying for, can pay off big at the end of the year when it is time to renew.  There will always be those members that are going to debate whether or not an association is worth the money. If you can provide mediums for reminding these individuals why they are a member throughout the year, then when it comes time to write the dues check, they can refer back to the reminders they received.  Whether its free meals, discounted rates, group health insurance or simply recognition at an annual meeting each year, members want to make sure their membership dues are worth the cost.

It is inevitable that associations will continue to lose members year after year, but the amount of members lost could be significantly decreased by reminding them what the association is, and will continue to do for them and their business, throughout the year, not just at renewal time.

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