Engaging New Members to Improve Renewals

Most membership organizations will find that the most likely members not to renew are first year members. In fact, it is not unusual for new member renewal rates to be up to 20 percentage points lower than longer term member renewals.

To help increase new member renewal rates, some organizations put “conversion” or “engagement” programs in place. The goal of these programs is to get new members involved and participating in an organization’s events and services.

So it was interesting to note the results of a quick online survey that ASAE did with one of their newsletters. They do not present it as statistically valid due to the limited number of responses, but it is interesting to note that only 26% of associations report running a special new member program for their organization.

ASAE Membership -- Recruitment and Retention

More Marketing Channels Available for Membership Recruitment

There are now more marketing channels to use in membership marketing than ever before. These options give us wonderful opportunities, but also some real challenges.

I thought that a former colleague of mine, Dave Taylor, expressed the potential challenges with adding more and more marketing channels well in his blog. He wrote,

“I believe that many, if not most, of the organizations pursuing this strategy will not be able to sustain this pace (or spend) to keep up with all these new channels. Even more dire: they will become so focused on managing all the new media (often with the same resources they had before the influx of the new media) that they will eventually dilute their attention to their core (and perhaps more pedestrian) programs – the same marketing programs that have proved all the ROI to this point in time.”

Ideally, careful tracking of membership recruitment will help define what marketing channels are most effective for your organization. And, in line with the quote above, I believe you need to track two key pieces of information. First, you want to look at ROI by channel. Where do the most members come from at an acceptable price? Secondly, you need to track where you invest your time. For example, social media can be fun and it can produce a good membership ROI, but if it takes up time that could be spent on more productive media, then it may not be the best investment.