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Are You Retaining Your Members? Engagement Matters!

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I sit on a Membership Committee of a local chapter of an association – and as a result of this, and the various conversations I have been having lately, it seems that we can all be doing a better job of engaging members – right from the beginning.

Sending a satisfaction survey should be part of your communication strategy, but it should not be the only way you are measuring engagement.  Typically, the response ratio to a survey is 25-30%, and comprises of those who are REALLY engaged (who are on the committees, volunteering, attending your events, recommending the organization to their colleagues), and those who are REALLY not (they have become dissatisfied with their membership for whatever reason, and this is their forum to say something about it).

Where you are missing the mark is with those members who sit on the fence – the ones who come to some of your events, who may respond to an occasional request, but from whom you never really hear from on a regular basis.

Based on my experience both with my clients and with my local membership committee, here are some tips that I have found useful:

Immediately After Joining:  Send the new member the collateral they should have.  I have found of late that it has become an ad-hoc process; at times associations just send a welcome email and advise that the website has all of the information they need.

At the Two Week Mark:  Make a follow up welcome call.  Ask them questions about why they joined, and if they need help finding anything. The welcome calls I have made to the new members of my association were very well received, and people thanked me for taking the time.

Check in at the 90-day Mark:  Use this as an opportunity to get a fresh perspective on the association – they may have suggestions on what to improve/add/remove as benefits or other offers.  This can be done by email, by phone or in person (if the member is local), or at a networking event.  Have the conversation in whatever means you can.

At the Six-Month Mark:  Take a look at the member’s purchase history.  Are they purchasing any research that you have conducted, taking your professional development courses, attending local networking events, or registered for your national conference?  Purchase history is not the only measurement of engagement, but it is a place to start.  Based on what you find, you have to think through what is your next step.  Should this member be contact personally again to see what is going on?

At the Nine-Month Mark:  Its getting close to renewal time, so it is the perfect time to start re-marketing to these individuals.  Send them the renewal material, and check-in to ensure it was received.

At the One-Year Mark:  Many of these members will likely renew.  Those who do without further intervention should be rewarded – recognize them in some way (on your website, in a newsletter, or do something fun and send them a certificate of appreciation).  Those who do not should be contacted right away, versus waiting to see if a late renewal will be coming in.

How are you currently maintaining a relationship and understanding the needs of your members?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  If you are looking for tips, please click here, and download our Member Retention Tips Sheet.