Membership Renewal Guide
Running a successful institution is impossible without an active and enthusiastic member base. As your institution begins to reopen, reaching out to your members is one of the easiest ways to ensure you reach capacity, and continue to have returning visitors. Keeping your members engaged, especially during and following the current pandemic, is even more important to maintaining your recurring revenue.
Following your grand reopening and related marketing campaigns, the next item on your agenda should be membership renewals.
In the following guide, we’ll walk you through the importance of membership renewals, and how to do so easily, efficiently, and with maximum benefits for both your organization and your members.
Membership Renewal Guide
Creating, growing, and maintaining a membership program at a given organization is no easy feat. We know that it takes time, money, and lots of patience and hard work to create an engaging and beneficial production subscribed to by a happy membership base.
It can be a tedious process to manage and update member contact details, send membership renewal reminders, create new website components to support memberships, and accept membership transactions. [Note: This can all be streamlined by using an online ticketing system like ACME ]
Improving how your organization handles membership renewals can save you time and effort when it comes to administrative tasks. This means you’ll have more time to focus on programming, marketing, and engagement for your members.
Why is membership renewal so important?
Think of it like employee turnover: it costs more to replace an old member of staff than it does to provide salary and benefits to a longtime employee. Same goes with memberships. Recruiting new members to fill gaps in your membership base takes more time and money than it does to maintain a healthy renewal strategy. Bad membership cancellation rates means that something isn’t working, and that the survival of your organization may be at risk.
The simplest way to combat poor membership renewal is to streamline and improve the renewal process: automated outreach, easy-to-navigate renewal processes, and other updates can be the secret ingredient which allows your organization to thrive and expand.
Show Off Membership Benefits
As you’re looking to renew memberships, you’ll want to focus on how you message and position the benefits that members get. Members need to understand the value of their membership: what is the actual value of the monthly or yearly rates that they’re paying?
We’ve seen a number of institutions use surveys as a tool to understand what members value, and what they would like to see added to their memberships.
In your membership renewal survey, you’ll want to make sure you clearly showcase three things:
- What your organization did for members this past year: what events were held, what benefits were given, what improvements were made from the previous year?
- What members did for the organization for this year: what were the most exciting event turnout numbers, how much money was raised for a particular benefit or exhibit, for what are you especially grateful to your members?
- How your organization can/will improve membership benefits: what exciting new events are being planned for the next year, what mistakes from last year are being corrected, what new interfaces will members interact with?
These three questions can help frame several of the events and perks that members received and they participated in, as well as what the future will look like as they continue their membership.
Engage, engage, engage!
Don’t just tell your members about all the great stuff they get for signing up with you, show them!
Did you promise members exclusive monthly events? Follow that promise up with exciting and interesting programming, just for your esteemed subscribers. Do you provide access to equipment, space, or other physical benefits? Have a more seasoned member give new members an orientation to help them feel welcomed and comfortable in the space.
In 2019, the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report published a study which found that 83% of organizations which implemented solid engagement strategies found a significant increase in membership renewals. So don’t just tell your members you love them; keep them entertained and feeling welcome.
Remember your members.
Do your members know when it’s time to renew their membership? Do they know where to look to find out? Through which channels are you performing outreach? How often are you reminding them?
One renewal notice probably won’t be too effective, especially not if it’s sent exclusively through email, or snail mail. Plus, if you’re only telling them that it’s time to renew, and not how to do so, it’s possible you may lose members simply through negligence or inattention.
Some surveys have revealed that most organizations prefer to send 3 renewal notices through a variety of channels to their members, including information such as the cost of dues, precise renewal date, where and how to renew, and any grace period policy information.
Let your members know you’re grateful for their patronage and want them to return, by making the renewal process easy, accessible, and apparent.
- Show members love. One strategy which has the added benefit of boosting renewal numbers is to offer incentives to currently enrolled subscribers. Discount membership rates for long-time members, offer special benefits to renewers after a certain number of years subscribed, or offer installment plans. Experiment, and see what works for you.
- Say ‘thank you.’ Once a member has renewed their subscription, follow it up with a prompt and personal extension of gratitude. Your members are sure to thank you right back.
Final Thoughts: Membership Renewal Guide
A passionate and engaged member base is the non-profits key to success and longevity. The best and simplest way to keep that of your organization strong and healthy is to set up a membership renewal strategy tailored specifically to the needs of your members.