The success of non-profits, organizations, associations, and regulatory bodies largely depends on membership renewal, but prior enrollment does not necessarily translate to continued membership. It can be difficult to convince members to shell out for fees, especially on the tail end of the pandemic.
Firstly, keep in mind that most members are not necessarily motivated to renew their membership in a timely manner. They are occupied with daily personal and professional responsibilities that push renewal to the back of their mind. Whether they have other priorities to address prior or they have simply forgotten it, successful membership renewal depends on reminders and notifications.
Members may hesitate to re-enroll for fear that the benefits they receive aren’t worth the dues they contribute. They may have experienced budget cuts or limited resources over the past year and are now questioning whether the membership is worth the cost. In fact, the renewal period and its subsequent results can be a good, quantitative indication of how much members value your association.
But problems interfering with successful membership renewal occur on the opposite side, too. Regulatory bodies may have limited personnel to reach out to non-responsive members, prompt renewal, and manage the renewal process. And timing is always everything. Fortunately, there are a few best practices you can adopt to ensure successful membership renewal for your regulatory body.
Keep Members Engaged Throughout the Year
It is crucial that the members of your regulatory body feel valued and appreciated throughout the year, not just when it’s time to renew their membership. In order to build a sense of community with your membership base, send out regular communications.
The easiest way to access anybody today is through social media. Establish a presence across a variety of platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and post to each account consistently. Make it easy for your followers to contact you by responding to comments or direct messages quickly. Interact with your community by conducting polls, asking questions or offering giveaways. You can also encourage members to share their own experiences with your organization, which can not only prompt discussion but spark the interest of potential new members.
Email, especially in the form of newsletters, is also an effective tool that you can employ to update members on important news, activities and events, and valuable resources. Email is also a great outlet to showcase the work your regulatory body does throughout the year as well as any achievements you have made to demonstrate your value to your members.
Show Them the Benefits
Members receive benefits in exchange for the fees they pay to join your regulatory body. Are they aware of what they are? Demonstrating your value throughout the year is essential for members to feel a sense of reciprocity, but involving your members in determining the kind of value you bring can be equally beneficial.
Take into consideration what your members think about your organization and what they need from it by conducting surveys and collecting their feedback. Review and adjust the benefits you provide according to the data you receive.
Offer them services and educational resources, like webinars, events, trainings and mentorship programs, so members feel supported and connected to one another. It is equally as important that your members to engage with each other as they do with your regulatory body. Forming friendships and partnerships motivates members to engage with your regulatory body more regularly.
Write a Powerful Member Renewal Email
Your renewal email or letter needs to inspire your members to renew their membership to your regulatory body by making them feel valued and integral. It can be helpful to pause and think about what you would like to hear as a member, or to involve members in the process by asking them directly.
The messaging should simultaneously communicate the value your regulatory body brings to its members while reinforcing your commitment to them. One way of personalizing your approach is to have a person, rather than the entity, sign the letter. Ask one of the volunteers for your organization, like a board member or chair, to be the voice behind the request for renewal.
Personalize the letter, and craft urgent and honest messaging. Speak to your member directly, using their name rather than the word “member.” Start off with a warm welcome and a helpful reminder of your benefits. And finish off by asking them to renew their membership today.
Set-up an Automatic Membership Renewal Reminder
Avoid depending on others’ calendars, schedules or memory by setting up an automatic reminder to keep members aware of the due date. For even better results, program multiple reminders leading up to the renewal date, starting up to a week ahead. And send a final reminder after the date has passed for any stragglers.
Know the Difference Between Email and Mobile Reminders
Different communication modalities produce different results. It may surprise you to learn that phone outreach is essential to successful membership renewal even in this highly digital age, as the Marketing Benchmarking Report found that organizations that experienced the highest renewal rates included phone calls in their process.
A multi-channel approach is most effective. Use email to send out your initial renewal notification. If you offer online payment and processing, include a direct link with instructions to prompt members to renew immediately. A phone call from a staffer or volunteer can be especially useful closer to the deadline for members still on the fence about whether to renew. It gives your regulatory body the chance to answer any questions or address any concerns directly and promptly.
Send a Renewal Link with Membership Reminders
Make it easy on your members by including a link to the renewal page to avoid any confusion and give them not just a call to action, but a path to it as well. Keep the renewal webpage clear and simple, so members can easily navigate it, and pre-fill any information you can to save them time.
Get Members to Renew on Their Own
Keep the renewal process as seamless as possible by offering automatic renewal. By directly charging your members at the end of the membership period, you can save time and money on processing renewals yourself, ensure that dues are paid on time, and avoid annoying members with too many communications.
Offer a Secure Online Payment Option
Giving your members the option of paying their fees online will solicit quicker responses, as payments will be deposited directly rather than taking days or even weeks to reach you by mail. To protect your members’ data, verify that your payment option is secure.
Create a Clear Internal Policy on Grace Periods
Accommodate late renewals with a determined grace period before terminating the membership. Most organizations allow two months, but you can also look at the average lapsed time for renewals and/or the actual success rate for reinstatement of lapsed members to determine the length of your grace period. Once instated, consider whether to withhold benefits until the fees are paid. Such a condition requires careful consideration to avoid making current, paying members feel like they are being short-changed while providing flexibility to lapsed members.
Have Quick Access to Members’ Renewal History for Better Management
Being able to access members’ renewal history easily and swiftly will not only allow you to analyze data and use it to improve the renewal process, but you can also keep abreast of renewals and lapses as they occur and reach out to members as necessary. Plus, members will feel more cared for if you take the time to learn about their history with your organization.
Maintain an Overview of Members’ Renewal Progress
Staying on top of the renewal process requires monitoring its progress. Knowing the number of members who have renewed their membership at any given time will allow you to intervene more effectively. You’ll know whether an additional reminder is necessary or which members to call up.
Additionally, have any members who opt out of the membership complete an exit survey about their experience with your regulatory body. An analysis of their answers may point to some trends or problems that you can address and fix to prevent more members from leaving and to encourage the lapsed members to re-join.
Legio: your ally in managing membership renewals
For over two decades, Gestisoft has been working with regulatory bodies and professional associations to bring them technological solutions tailored to their needs. Legio 365 is its latest product, designed to free up 75% of time spent doing administrative work, like conducting membership renewal. Legio automates the process and gives you a clear overview of its progress, so you can manage it effectively and offer your members a seamless renewal experience.
Want to know more about how Gestisoft can help your regulatory body maximize its time and resources to better serve your members? Contact us via our website.