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Planning for Re-engaging Disengaged Members

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is almost over!  And with the end of one year, comes planning for the next! So this month, we’re going to offer some thoughts and tips to help with your new year’s planning. And we'll start with membership renewal planning.

Before you start renewals - here are some “Learning Lessons from Disengaged Members”

For membership organizations, the new year means a new renewal cycle. But before we focus on the details of renewal procedures, perhaps now is a good time to step back and take a look at your organization from your members’ perspective. In a recent post - Grievances of the 5-minute member * - Alex Mouw (AssociationCentric Blog) reminds us that we’re all very busy - including your members. Mouw notes:

I admit it. I don’t have enough hours in the day.  I believe in my professional association. I know it’s an important network and a resource to help me do my job better.  But when it comes to making time to “engage” it falls off my plate as something that won’t kill me if it doesn’t happen today.  Day after day, engagement falls to the wayside until a topic that arises that I’m so passionate about that I spring into action.

To summarize the post, here are Mouw’s 5 Grievances of the 5-minute Member:

  1. I’m really busy, and sometimes I forget things.  
  2. My inbox runneth over, so be careful what you e-mail me.  
  3. I need what you have, but don’t make me hunt for it.  
  4. I want your support – when, where, and how I need it.  
  5. My participation isn’t premeditated.  

*Hat tip to Ernie Smith (Associations Now) - where I discovered Alex Mouw’s post.

Member renewal strategies

In a post on the Membership Marketing Blog last month, Tony Rossell suggested that “[t]he simple answer to improve membership retention is to provide more value and engage members. That said there are also very practical marketing tips that can help you keep more members." In the post Rossell offers Eight Membership Retention Strategies and Ideas - here are the first three:

  1. Frequency – Like it or not, people forget to renew. Don’t give up too soon on retaining a member.
  2. Channels – Use all of the tools that are available to you for retention – mailed notices, postcards, email, staff or volunteer calls, telemarketing, and website interstitials.
  3. Conversion – Almost always, first year members are the least likely to renew. That’s why the first year of membership is called the conversion year. Focus time, effort, and budget on these first year members.

Insight into how other small membership organizations manage renewals

Before you begin your standard renewal procedures, it might also be helpful to see how other organizations are handling their renewals. Back in July we published the results of a mini survey we conducted on membership renewal. The infographic above (click to enlarge) offers a snapshot of the survey results, but some of the key highlights included:

  • Most effective renewal methods:
    1. Email - 60%
    2. Mail – 30%
    3. Phone – 10%
  • Renewal Timing: We asked: “When do you send the first renewal reminder?”
    • 1 month prior to expiration – 48.3%
    • 2 months prior to expiration – 34.5%
    • 3 months prior – 13.8%
    • 4 months prior – 3.4%
  • Number of renewal notices:
    • Three notices – 42.9%
    • Two notices – 32.1%
    • Four notices – 17.9%
    • One notice – 7.1%

Renewal resources:

Here are some resources that might help you with your renewal planning for the new year:

In our Hub:

We’ve created a renewal guide – How To Manage Membership Renewal: Tips and tactics for small membership organizations – which offers an overview of current practices as well as tips on how to: start the renewal process; determine the number of renewals; choose effective communications methods; and acknowledge renewals. It also includes information on: incentives and discounts; grace periods; automated renewal processes and thoughts on ongoing engagement and retention.

Wild Apricot Blog posts on renewal:

Do you have any tips for membership renewal planning for 2013? Share them in the comments below.

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Monday, 03 December 2012 at 8:30 AM
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