How to Increase Member Retention Through Renewal Programs



Updated By: Eric Edwards

It’s that time of year again when you see the results of your member retention efforts. On average, our association clients experience an annual member renewal rate of 90%. However, a key to achieve this mark is to have an intentional membership renewal program. Does your association have one? Here’s a step-by-step plan to develop an intentional renewal process. 

How do associations enhance their membership renewal program for association membership? A robust renewal strategy extends past simple billing. Associations must highlight benefits and ROI consistently using tools like webinars, email campaigns, and direct communication with members.

Members decide to renew based on the tangible support they receive and the association’s ability to tackle their challenges and celebrate their successes throughout the year.

Set a Renewal Goal and Evaluate Your Resources

Set an internal membership renewal goal and determine what resources you must have to achieve this goal. These may be tangible items such as educational resources that you can send to a member to encourage them to renew.

Look at your educational resources and membership newsletters to keep in touch. They may be event-based resources or industry news resources. Be sure to summarize your lobbying updates and other advocacy successes in your membership communications. To determine what resources members value, send out a member survey.

Build a Member Renewal Team

Assign a person or team that will be responsible for carrying out your new or updated renewal process. Be sure the person or team clearly understands the renewal goals. Support the person or team with the resources they need and be responsive to the questions they may have. Membership renewal is extremely important, so you’ll need to find someone in your organization with enough bandwidth to help support the effort.

Outline Engagement Steps for Renewal

When someone decides to renew their membership, what happens next? Do you thank them? Do you send a summary of upcoming events and things to look forward to? Acknowledging and responding to a member renewal is important so members continue to feel valued.

But don’t stop there! Create a benchmark document on what steps need to be completed to engage with your members at renewal time and throughout the coming year.

You should have, on average, 15 points of contact during a membership year with each member. This can include a combination of phone calls, e-mails, webinars, calls from other members, and other forms of communication.

Finalize The Intentional Membership Renewal Plan

Once membership goals are set, resources are identified, team members are assigned, and a benchmark document has been created, it’s time to move on to the plan itself and include retention steps.

After renewal, the rest of the year’s focus should be about intentionally retaining your members and showing them the association’s value. It’s important to reinforce your value proposition and reach out to your members as part of your retention plan.

Remember, make sure to also have an information kit ready to go to send out to not only new members but also to those who renew, within 24 hours. This should be a key part of your standard operating procedures.

When you set up an intentional member retention plan, your members will not question the value of their membership and understand the incredible things you’re doing for their benefit. By enacting an intentional membership renewal plan, your renewal process should become more seamless year after year.  

What steps have you taken to retain your current memberships? Reach out if you need help evaluating your member retention. 


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