Member Retention

The most helpful guide to understanding and increasing association member retention. From member onboarding to engagement to events, learn about how to keep your members coming back year after year.

Why Member Retention Matters

For associations, member retention is key. It’s easy to get wrapped up in attracting new members, but retention is the secret sauce. Member retention is vital to growth and sustainability as well as the success of your exciting new member acquisition campaigns. Because how valuable are those new members if they stay for just one year?

Unfortunately that’s what many new association members do. They join, pay their dues, and drop their membership a year later. Studies show that for some associations, first-year members account for more than 70 percent of attrition. That’s a big hit to your growth.

Associations can’t just convince new members to join. You also need to convince them to stay. That’s why we created this ongoing guide to member retention. Let’s get started.

24% of associations

do not have a tactical plan to increase engagement

29% of associations

think members just forget to renew

Does that sound like your association?

Never fear, Higher Logic is here. We’re creating an ongoing series called “Path to Renewal” to examine the ways to ensure members renew and improve your retention numbers. You can read the individual posts below. And check back for more additions to the series over the next few months!

Measuring Membership Renewals

So you want to start actively increasing member renewals. That’s spectacular – but where to start? Proactively identifying which members are engaged vs. unengaged is key step.  That might seem like a laborious process, but that’s where your software comes into play.

Start by introducing engagement scoring into your organization. Engagement scoring (also known as lead scoring when used for prospects) is the process of measuring engagement levels for existing association members. You can answer questions like: How engaged are your members? What are they most interested in? How are they responding to your marketing and communications?

Like lead scoring, one way to build these member engagement scores is through a point system. The idea is to assign points based on members’ level of involvement and certain actions they might take. Examples include assigning points based on members who:

  • Open or click an email
  • Complete a certification
  • Have been a member for at least 2 years
  • Engage with your online community

This exact makeup of your point system depends on the unique dynamics of your organization. It’s up to your team to determine what you consider “highly engaged, moderately engaged, minimally engaged, or disengaged.” We take you through creating your engagement scoring process even more in this popular blog.

Once you determine your point or scoring parameters, you can start to get a view of the engagement level of your membership organization and decide how you want to follow-up with members based on their engagement (maybe with higher-commitment opportunities) or disengagement (with support).