In earlier posts, I comment on the first two stages of the membership life cycle: Awareness and Membership Recruitment.
Now I want to focus on how we keep these new members from flying away from your association.
Once a member joins, he or she becomes the most likely member not to renew. Almost every association that I have worked with has its lowest renewal rate among new members. That’s why we call the first year of membership the conversion year.
Over the years, there have been many attempts at increasing renewals for these first year members. Some associations resort to sending the member a BIG new member kit to make them aware of all the association has to offer.
But there is a better solution. It is called engagement – encouraging and initiating interaction between the member and the association.
In a recent post on Growth through Membership Retention, I outlined the results from data analytics project that we conduction that showed for one association the powerful impact on renewals from different types of member interactions ranging from a member purchase to getting the member to call the association.
The survey results from ASAE and the Center’s, Decision to Join highlights the same concept. There is very little statistical difference between non-engaged members as lapsed members. “Those who are not involved lie perilously close to former members in their overarching assessments of the value they derive from associations. If former members are thought of as being dead, the uninvolved are close to comatose” (page 4).
So then how do we engage new members?
Many associations are now moving a conversion program which is a multi-step, multi-channel communication. The program is NOT built around informing the member about the association, but it is dedicated to generating a second interaction with the member. Essentially, a new member conversion program continues to “ping” the member until a response is achieved.
The program might include: a letter from the members personal member service representative asking them to call
- an email assisting the member with registering for the password protected membership web site
- a mailing with a dollars-off voucher for a first purchase
- an email survey verifying the use of member benefits
- a courtesy call to answer member questions
Have you had experience in engaging members? Please share your thoughts.