Strategies to Retain and Recruit Members

Membership revenue is the bread and butter for many associations. Retaining current members and recruiting new members is an ongoing discussion for associations. New membership recruitment strategies can be daunting, particularly if your association has limited resources to achieve results. Below are successful strategies Malachite Management Inc. has implemented for our client associations. These strategies have broadened the audience reach by bringing in new members while at the same time retaining a strong base of renewing members.

Discounts around Activities and Events

Offer discounted membership for individuals who sign-up or renew during relevant external  and internal events.. Find out what important and relevant events or activities take place during the year. It could be the date your association was founded or a national day the industry/profession is recognized. You can piggyback on the existing audience of such events and encourage participants to join. By doing so, you may expand your audience reach and also may spike membership statistics at times previously considered “down times.”

Free Memberships to Specific Groups

Free membership can be a tricky strategy as you run the risk of potentially sacrificing immediate revenue. Consider groups that are relevant to your association that include individuals who may not have the interest or the means to join. For example, one group we’ve identified is undergraduate students. Students often have limited resources and may consider professional membership beyond their financial reach. Your association can provide a free student membership. This promotes early engagement and demonstrates the benefits of membership at the start of someone’s career.  When they see the value to your association, they will remain with you when they enter the industry. Think of free student memberships as an investment.

Auto-Renewal and Multi-Year Memberships

Sometimes, members forget to renew. If commercial emails and social media are your main reminder tactics, they can be ineffective as they can be ignored. Make renewal easy for your members! Offer auto-renewal memberships to individuals or consider offering multi-year memberships (e.g. 2 year, 5 year memberships).

Membership Benefits Campaign

One of the main reasons individuals do not renew is because they do not see the value in being a member. Educate potential members and current members on your value proposition (member benefits)! Create campaigns to educate and remind members of what you have to offer. Consider peer testimonials as a focal point of member initiative. Broadcast your campaigns through the many communication means available to your association. Don’t forget to create content that is specific to the medium you are using. Showcase the perks they receive and they will naturally want to renew!

There are many successful ideas to retain and recruit membership. The first step is to not get discouraged! Try out new strategies and find out what sticks!

Submitted by Marlee McElligott and Ernest Ho, Malachite Innovations and Trends Committee