Do’s and Don’ts for Your Membership Dues

Beth Farrar, Director of Enterprise AMS Marketing

July 8, 2021

    Membership dues. Where would your association be without them?

    Association industry research from Community Brands shows that organizations of all sizes say that membership dues typically provide 45 percent of revenue for their organization.

    The last thing you can afford to do is lose any membership dues. So, how can you hang onto the dues you’re already receiving? Here are five ways.

    Do understand the member journey.

    Members have different needs depending on their career stage and each stage of their experience with your organization (from joining to renewal). Delivering an exceptional member experience that keeps members around requires supporting members throughout the member journey.

    Take time to understand your members’ journey and make sure you are doing all you can to give them a great experience every step of the way. Learn tips on how to deliver a great member experience – from recruitment to renewal for students to retirees and everything in between – in the guide, Supporting the Lifetime Member Journey.

    How well do you know your lapsed members?

    Discover how understanding lapsed members helps you to better serve your current member base.

    Do invest in a strong member onboarding plan.

    As with any relationship, the first interactions with your organization make a lasting impression on new members. That’s why the onboarding process is so important.

    Create a formal member onboarding process by mapping out the first 90 days of membership — a critical period for making a good first impression with a new member. Here are two best practices:

    • Thank them for joining. In addition to an automated “thank you” confirmation when they join online, consider sending them a personal email or hand-written note or even taking a moment to call them, to thank them for joining.
    • Make them feel at home right away. Send them an email (or short series of emails) letting them know about the benefits they receive and how to access them. Take this opportunity to remind them of important dates, such as your annual conference, and direct them to online resources, such as your online member community.

    Do offer a personal touch.

    Community Brands research shows that the top three reasons members give for allowing their membership to lapse are that the membership became too costly, they have other priorities now, and the organization was providing little value. Avoid losing more members by giving them more of the value they seek.

    You can learn more about what members want and how to deliver greater member value in the industry study, Association Trends 2020: From Disruption to Opportunity.

    One important way to keep members around is to engage them with a highly personalized member experience. For example, suggest programs or products they might be interested in based on past purchases or activities they’ve engaged in with your organization.

    TIP: Use functionality in your association management software (AMS), such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, to identify members at risk of leaving and try to re-engage them before they go.

    Don’t forget to listen.

    There’s no better way to know what your members want than to ask them. Some ideas:

    • Send a periodic survey to gather their thoughts and ideas about your organization’s programs and benefits.
    • Read what they’re saying in your online community, and then participate in the conversations to spark more feedback.
    • Host focus groups with diverse audiences of members (race, career stage, job role, length of time as a member) to find out more about their needs and how you can continue to deliver value.

    Don’t give up on lapsed members.

    It might be easy to forget about those members that get away each year – your lapsed members. But, as the saying goes, it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to attract a new one.

    One great way to increase member retention is to understand what makes some members leave, and then take action to keep members from lapsing in the future. For example, create a marketing campaign to remind your lapsed members of the value your organization has provided and re-kindle the relationship with those members whose interest may have faded.

    A modern AMS is the foundation for providing a great member experience.

    Learn how Nimble AMS can help you keep members happy and engaged year after year.

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