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One of the largest struggles facing many associations is membership renewals. In fact, it falls just under new member recruitment in most situations.

Your association is important. You know it, your members know it. But, lots of things are important. Life is busy and businesses are struggling. This means that finding ways to get members to stay should be a top priority.

Luckily, your digital community, along with efforts outside of your community, can help in this critical area. Consider the following steps to build your association’s renewal rates in order to see growth now and into the future.

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute.

Here’s the thing. Anything done at the last minute usually ends in disaster. Your renewal process is no different. Waiting until the day, or month before it’s time to renew shows that it’s not that important to your association, so your members shouldn’t make it a priority either.

In fact, the most recent Marketing Benchmarking Report by Marketing General Incorporated, found that associations who begin the renewal reminder process 3 months in advance of renewal expiration dates have an 80% (or even higher) rate of actual renewals.

Moral of the story? Think ahead. Start your process early to give both your association and your members ample time to act accordingly.

  1. Offer incentives.

Why should your members renew? Is there a difference between renewing membership early and waiting for the last minute? What about letting membership lapse and then renewing in the future? If there’s no reason to renew early or on time, it might just not happen.

Can your association offer a reduced rate for returning members who renew early or on time? What about another “resigning” bonus of some sort, an extra benefit? A new title within the association? Rewards don’t have to be huge, but, members like to be recognized and rewarded. Try to find a way to incentivize your renewal process.

  1. Get personal.

Blanket renewal reminders don’t exactly scream “we value you!”.

Use renewal periods as a way to recognize the importance of your members. Tag members inside your community who are due to renew in the next renewal period. Thank them individually for what they’ve done inside your association. Thank them for the way they bring value to your association.

Get. Personal. Today.

  1. Recognize achievements.

Your members might not know what you do for them behind the scenes. Your online community is your opportunity to bring these otherwise unheralded achievements to the surface.

Consider posting regular updates along with a monthly (at the least) update of what your association has done legislatively, in your community or for your members. Demonstrate value at every opportunity. You should be your association’s biggest fan…this will spread to your members.

  1. Keep it simple. Keep it digital.

Think about the various processes you have to take part in on a regular basis. Which do you dislike? Chances are, you avoid things that take the most time or are the most complicated but you don’t hesitate when something is simple.

Your membership renewal process should follow this cue. The easier it is for your members to renew, the less likely they are to put it off. Consider setting up renewal options inside your digital community by way of a simple form. The days of mailing in multiple forms is done…keep it online.

  1. Provide adequate reminders.

Professionals are busy. They have a lot to juggle between work and home life. Your association is important to them, but that doesn’t mean it’s not easy for certain things to get overlooked.

This means that a single reminder that renewals are approaching will not be adequate. It could get buried in the everyday needs of life. Instead, remind on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, starting a few months in advance.

The more reminders you provide, the less likely members are to forget to renew.

  1. Allow a grace period.

All of the above pointers taken into account, there will still be times that a renewal just doesn’t happen. That doesn’t have to mean that the member is lost forever.

Consider finding a way to offer a grace period where members can renew without consequences or without having to start the joining process over again. The easier the path is back to membership, the more likely your members are to follow it.

Your digital community can be an excellent tool for ensuring your renewal rates stay high, or raising them if they could use a little extra work. Start with the tips above and think of ways to keep your members in the fold today!

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