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Association Member Retention - Are You as Member-Driven as You Think?

Association Membership
Even though the recession is behind us, we see that association members and their employers are increasingly looking at the ROI of their annual dues.

Some memberships are mandatory, based on industry requirements – but if it is not a requirement (and, even if it is), do you really know why your members joined your association?  Is it networking opportunities, access to education relevant to your industry, or because it helps them show influence in their day-to-day role?

Ensure that each member feels as valued as the next by capturing what is relevant to them.  Your membership database should house member contact information, but does it allow you to pull reports based on demographics? Could you communicate with your a sub-set of members based on specific interests, or motivations?

In many cases, a main reason for membership is the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals in their given industry. But check to be sure.  In your next membership renewal campaign, take the time to find out why – and create a simply drop-down list in your database to capture this information.  It may help you in the future when promoting a new service, educational program, or event.

Recently we worked on an association membership renewal campaign with one of our clients, and one of the members who renewed had absolutely nothing to do with the industry.  To settle our own curiosity, we asked him why he enjoyed being a member of this particular association – he literally said that he pays the membership fees each year because he enjoys getting the magazine!  While this I must admit is an extreme case, it would make sense to know this so that dollars are not spent on something the member is clearly not interest in.

For another association client, we promote conferences and courses to prospective members with a call campaign following a mailing.  During these calls, we come across many contacts who are interested in what the association offers at a very general level, but they do not want to continue to receive all their mailings until they are ready to commit as a member. This particular association spends a lot of money per mailing.  If preferences about mailings was kept in their CRM, it would not only respect contacts’ wishes, but it would save the association a lot of money on their mailings.

Find out what you could be doing to enhance a member's  experience.  Do you have an area online that is “members only” where they have the chance to ask and answer questions with their peers?  Would this be of interest to them?

Newer members are most certainly from a different generation from your long-time members.  They search for information differently.  Is there a blog on your website?  Are you tweeting?  This may help enhance the member experience with younger members.  However, do not keep the others out of the loop – keep your other methods of communication too, in order to cover all of your bases.

Is there anything else that you think may enhance your member’s experience?