Improve member loyalty in associations with the rise of the subscription economy

Saj Hoffman-Hussain

September 13, 2019

    How auto-renewal of individual and company memberships can increase loyalty and retention

    Member loyalty. It’s always on the minds of associations. How can you recruit, engage, and, most importantly, retain members? Here’s one way.

    Associations that can differentiate themselves are on the leading edge of member retention. How then do you distinguish yourself in a crowded market? One way is by adopting an effective subscription strategy that make it easier for members to stay members. Simply put – you offer members the opportunity to sign up for recurring services rather than a one-off payment that expires.


    The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100% percent per year over the past five years, with the largest retailers generating more than $2.6B in sales in 2016, up from $57.0M in 2011 according to a 2018 survey by McKinsey & Company. In the same study, it’s claimed that 15% of online shoppers have signed up to receive a product on a monthly basis. It’s clear that the subscription economy is a big deal across multiple industries.

    As a business model and a core value, membership is perhaps the defining quality of trade and professional associations. And, it’s more than just a bundle of benefits. To join an association is to become a member of a community, a place to belong, where like-minded people share knowledge and work together toward goals they couldn’t achieve alone. According to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), one of the 7 drivers of membership is engaging people and understanding that values drive volunteer choices. It stands to reason that encouraging an ongoing commitment through a recurring subscription is itself a continuing indicator of commitment and a way of improving member loyalty.

    Another benefit of recurring monthly memberships is increased donations by providing membership with added value, for example offering special ‘donor’ status for setting up a regular monthly donation. Associations that can demonstrate a tangible benefit to their constituents in this way will show their worth over those that stick to one-off two-party transactions that can seem impersonal. The level of effort for donors to switch from an annual donation to a monthly one shouldn’t be that burdensome, especially if you can find ways to recognize their extra support. The argument can also be made that they can set it and forget it, as opposed to having a large amount of money taken from their account once a year, making it more affordable to continue supporting causes.

    Depending on the association flexible payment schedules can be used for specific campaigns or events. Moving to a recurring model of payment widens the possibilities to collect dues and improve fundraising efforts.

    Try Company and Individual Recurring Memberships with Nimble AMS

    Auto-renewal for company and individual memberships will eliminate the need for Associations to renew memberships every time they expire and increase the likelihood of recurring payment schedules for company memberships. It’s been designed to allow administrators to easily set membership products as recurring. Company managers or individuals have the option to auto-renew, not to renew, or set the renew frequency to their requirements with flexible payment schedules that encourage members to stay members.

    To find out how your association can continue to remain competitive and serve their members with recurring memberships, contact our Customer Success Team or access our Help Site.

    Learn more about why Nimble AMS is the most in-demand AMS built on the Salesforce CRM platform.

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