How to Make Sure Your Members Renew

How to Make Sure Your Members Renew

At this time of year, many associations are busy sending out renewal notices to members. Retaining membership numbers year to year is a vital part of keeping an association sustainable and relevant. In fact, as much effort should go into your member retention strategy as does to your efforts for member acquisition.


However, sometimes associations don’t have the time or resources to follow up with members who have not renewed. Members who do not renew are written off and forgotten if they do not pay their membership by a specific time. To help to recover members, many associations contract Association Executive Services member contact service to engage with their members to try and recover overdue subscriptions.


We have compiled some of the lessons we have learned from the process of following up lapsed members, and how associations can better retain memberships.


Many members simply forget to renew


Often members who haven’t paid are assumed to no longer be interested in being a part of the association. But we have lost count of the number of un-financial members we have called, and they have answered with, “I got the email to renew, but I forgot all about it. Can I pay for it now?”


Sending numerous emails with invoices and reminders to pay and expecting members to respond does not work. A more personalised approach, such as follow up phone calls, has a much greater response rate when it comes to renewals. In our busy lives, it’s easy for something to get lost in the inbox. A phone call, however, prompts immediate action.


Missing contact information prevents renewal


As people move between jobs and positions, their contact details may change. We have found that in many cases the data for members contact details is incorrect, and they have not received email correspondence about renewal.


This has an effect on more than just paying renewal notices on time. When an association doesn’t have the correct contact information for a member, the member misses out on key communications such as newsletters, invitations to events, email updates and more. 


Members do not always check their membership profile to ensure that their details are up to date. Although it can be a tedious process, it is important that some time is dedicated to checking contact details regularly and ensuring they are accurate. Otherwise, members can feel like they are not getting value from their membership, limiting the chances that they will renew.


Call members regularly – not just at renewal time


Too often, associations will call their members once a year – when their renewal invoice is due. This is not best practice, although it is understandable for associations with stretched resources. 


It’s a good idea to get in touch with members regularly through a variety of channels. If members have not engaged with the association in some time, check in with them via a quick, friendly phone call. This personalised contact makes members feel more valued and increases their engagement across all association activities and events.


We have discovered that the subscription renewal phone call allows members to express their reasons for not renewing. It is essential to document the feedback and acknowledge the input through an email. In many cases, this results in renewal.


Incentivise members with a preview of the coming year


Some members may be questioning the value of their membership at the moment, when lockdowns and restrictions have prevented a lot of the things that people enjoy in association membership. However, 2022 promises to bring back in-person events, networking opportunities and much more.


It’s a good idea to incentivise members to renew by showing them what is on offer with association membership. Remind them of the many perks and benefits that their membership offers. For long-standing members, you may even want to consider introducing a special privileges scheme.


Members who are on the fence about renewing their membership will be swayed by a good program of events and opportunities that they see value in. Associations should devote some time to putting together a brief ‘sales pitch’ for renewal time.


How can associations use our services to get members to renew?


Our dedicated member call centre is in Melbourne, and we have experienced association member professionals who are very skilled in managing member or customer relationships. Association Executive Services offers a member contact service to assist associations contact members during the renewal period and ensure that:

  • they are aware that their renewal is due
  • they are given the opportunity to pay on the spot
  • they can update contact details as needed
  • if they don’t want to renew, they are given the opportunity to explain why and to express any concerns.


We also follow up with all members via email. Our friendly team ensures your members feel valued, understood and considered, improving your membership retention rates.

If you need help with member management and renewals, call the friendly team at AES on +61 3 8393 9382.

About the Author: Nick Koerbin (Executive Director, AES)

With over 30 years of management expertise, Executive Director and Founder of AES, Nick Koerbin is one of the most experienced NFP leaders in Australia. He has held positions as the CEO of Materials Australia, theNational Parts Code, as well as senior positions in the Institute of Insurance, Australian Quality Council, the Financial Planning Association, the Australian Human Resources Institute, and the Furniture Industry Association of Australia. Nick created AES with a vision of creating a set of management practices that could be consistently followed to ensure success. Over his 30 years in the industry, he noticed that inconsistent management practices often impeded delivery of services to members, which in turn created issues with membership renewal. By establishing AES and creating the NFP Association Best Practice Self-Assessment, Nick has been able to assist leaders in becoming more confident and informed decision makers so that they can create more effective strategies and implementation plans.

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