How to Evaluate and Update Your Membership Recruitment and Retention Plans



Today I want to talk about membership recruitment and membership renewals.
Over this three month period during the COVID pandemic, I’ve seen associations do incredible work for their membership and also for prospective members. A number of things like giving guidance on how to secure PPP loans, ensuring their members are deemed essential businesses, and helping develop plans for their industry to reopen. Not to mention, the communication teams who have been working on overdrive to produce more webinars, podcasts, social media posts, and industry updates.
Now, as you’re starting to see your members reopen, it’s time to really evaluate your retention and your recruitment plans moving forward. Unfortunately, some of your members won’t survive. Don’t let that paralyze you from recruiting new members. Just in this past month, we’ve recruited two new members – for different associations that we work with – that are maximum dues level members. This is very encouraging. Even though companies are on spending freezes, if there’s something valuable they’re willing to still pay for it. Don’t underestimate the worth and the expertise of your association and what you can do for prospective members.
Membership revenue is going to be crucial for the remainder of this year and for 2021 with event revenue taking a big hit.
A few tips as you look forward to next year:
If your membership renewal dues are due now, send them out. Don’t delay. We’ve seen people have good success sending renewal notices out and getting them back. It’s a good time to reinforce the values of the things you’re doing because you sent those notes out. But don’t not send them.
Delay or discount dues only if members need or ask for it. There have been few and far between, I’d say less than 5%, that are really asking for these concessions. Don’t put your association on a one down position by offering it to everyone when you don’t need to.
If you’ve been providing member only content to non-members it might be worth starting to look at pulling that back a little bit by gating it and making it members only content. They’ve gotten a good feel for your association in the past three months and the value you can provide. Now it’s time to make folks pay for the expertise and content by becoming members.
Likewise, reach out to those prospects who have been engaging with your association. Hopefully you’ve got metrics to see who’s clicking on things to learn who’s most interested in your webinars and in your white papers. Those are the folks who you should be talking to right now.
Lastly, as you are developing a plan – and associations are concerned about their budgets – realize that you can’t cut your way out of this. Trimming staff or trimming the budget does not mean everything’s going to be equal. In fact, I would put resources into increasing membership sales and membership recruitment right now. You’re going to need to make up for that gap of where your retention rate may fall short this year; you’re going to need to recruit new members. I highly encourage you to put resources into that area.
If you need any help, either selling or advice on how to do it better, we’re here for you. I can be reached via email at I look forward to speaking with many of you soon. Thanks. Take care.

How can we help your association close the gap on revenue caused by the COVID19 pandemic? Reach out.


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