According to the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report from Marketing General Incorporated, 67% of associations surveyed boasted increasing retention rates year over year with the average individual member renewal at 85% for trade associations and 76% for member organisations.

As an industry, these are reasonably strong statistics - how does your Association compare?

If you're unhappy with your retention or member acquisition/recruitment rate, it's time to actively launch a retention programme. Since it's easier to keep a member than it is to sign one, retention is the place to start. You should already have the basis of a strong relationship - now it is time to strengthening it.

However, developing such a programme (Retention &/or Recruitment) can often be easier said than done - resources can often be a challenge. BoxMedia have developed a Membership Development Programme that can be tailored to your Associations particular requirements.

Strictly adhering to GDPR requirements BoxMedia can provide a host of specialised membership services including;

  • Membership Retention - Liaising with your existing members to understand and survey what they expect/require for the Association.
  • Communicate with Impact - Bringing together a proven communications programme that will actively reach new members, while building relationships with existing!
  • Respect & Understand your Associations Mission Statement - The BoxMedia suite of membership support services are purposely designed to enhance the integrity and respect already employed by your Association. We understand that we are representing your organisation and this is at the forefront of our internal training of colleagues.
  • Membership Recruitment - Working within a number of Irish and International industry markets, BoxMedia can provide you with access into these sectors - a new pool of potential new members for your Association. A proven and continuously improving strategy is employed to promote the benefits of corporate and individual membership of your organisation. Through digital, traditional and direct personal-marketing our colleagues engage with new potential members on your behalf highlighting the benefits and commitments provided by your Association.


Why Do Association Members Leave?

Most people are reticent to tell you the real reason they're leaving. They don't want to cause an issue, hurt feelings, or they simply don't feel like wasting the time. When you're disengaged enough to terminate your membership, you don't generally take the time to explain why or even seriously think about why. However, survey shows that one thing most responses will have in common is that the member simply didn't find enough value in membership (Return on Investment).

According to the Marketing General Report 37% of members didn't renew because their employer stopped paying their membership.

Nearly just as many (33%) left the field or industry. In these cases, there's simply nothing that can be done. If someone is no longer a architect, they're not going to pay to rejoin an association which is no longer relevant to their career. The most disconcerting of the numbers was that 49% of former trade association members left because they experienced a lack of engagement with the organisation. This is a problem you can control, or BoxMedia can manage on your behalf!

Connection Between Value & Engagement in Your Online Community

There is a strong and undeniable connection between engagement and value. When your Member feels involved (i.e. engaged) he/she feels valued and in-turn will view your Association Membership as valuable!

If an association provides something that no one else does, continuing education/knowledge sharing in the industry for example - membership retention will be high. However, as with any business/organisation we must strive to continuously improve and provide more value for money. Growing our digital engagement offering for members is cost effective and easy to monitor - Webinars, regular newsletters, interactive website, members portal, video archiving, member-surveys, etc.

But this can be a drain on resources presently not in place!

How Do I Provide Value to My Members?

Tackling member retention means asking yourself and your organisation, how do I make someone like me? It's personal for each member. What is valuable to one member may matter very little to another. This is the true difficulty in member retention, there isn't one timeless answer. However, the one thing we do know is that customised member experiences are incredibly important in the context of member retention. Thus, as you make decisions regarding what tactics work and don't work for your membership base keep personalisation in mind.

As always, all programmes should tie closely to your community goals and Association Mission Statement. Here are a few other tips to improve member retention:

Tip #1: Reach Out Early and Often

For members who fail to find value in their association's membership, it's often due to not fully using the benefits of membership. This could be a lack of knowledge of the benefits or even just a matter of forgetting. For this reason it's important to stay in touch with your members. You can do this through messages in your online community, phone calls, and through emails.

However, engagement and regular contact with your community is vital - simply engaging at time of renewal will only portray the obvious and push away members. This will be construed as a blatant lack of respect!

Tip #2: Start Your Retention Program on Day One

The first day of membership should be the only time you send a mass email with limited personalisation. That very first contact can be a welcome format, everything after that should be aimed at maintaining that member!

Educate them on benefits and stay in touch. You can't begin a retention program six weeks before annual membership is due. Your membership retention program starts the second they agree to become a member!

Tip #3: Customize Your Approach/Communications Wherever Possible

One-size membership no longer fits all. People expect a customized approach. As we mentioned earlier, personalisation should never fall out of priority. Consider that personalised email subject line is 22.2% more likely to be opened.

This means customising all types of communications and interactions. If you're not providing an experience that feel personal, you can assume your members feel like a number.

Think - how would I like to be engaged with if I was paying a membership fee!!

Understand Why They Joined

Every member has a reason they joined. Understand why, what problem they thought membership could solve for them, and you have the secret sauce behind membership retention. Use that information to customise your offerings and your communications.

For further information, or to arrange for a meeting/presentation of BoxMedia's products & services please contact shauna@boxmedia.ie/+ 353 46 9773434.