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Retaining members in 2022 – key things to consider

With COVID uncertainty still at play, Associations need to stay relevant and must be proactively communicating and engaging with their members.

Associations will need to work hard to retain existing members and work extremely hard to acquire new ones.

In the lead up to membership renewals, it is paramount that Boards reconsider their value proposition, key objectives, member benefits and ensure an effective communications strategy is in place.

Below we have highlighted a 3-phase approach that associations and Boards should be considering now to maximise their membership renewals.

  1. Member survey
  2. Strategy Day
  3. Development and Implementation of a membership renewal communication strategy

Member Survey

If you haven’t conducted a member survey within the last 6 months, we highly recommend you undertake this as soon as possible. Don’t rely on old survey data as the state of play is changing much too fast. Survey questions should capture the below;

  1. gauge the likelihood of your members renewing (this will assist with budget forecasting);
  2. raise any issues or concerns (this will enable the Board to resolve prior to renewal time);
  3. provide some insights into value perception (this will assist in reinforcing their value perceptions or assist the Board in redefining the association’s value proposition) and;
  4. provide some innovative ways in how the association can better support their members.

Understanding members pain points will assist Boards in developing strategies to alleviate these and to ensure these are not felt across the broader membership base. Similarly, understanding what members value from their membership will facilitate more targeted and improved messaging to both existing and potential members.

Strategy Day

A well developed and executed strategy day will reap many rewards and should include the below framework;

Vision – where are we going?

Mission and Purpose – why do we exist?

Strategic Priorities – what do we need to focus on to achieve our vision?

Action Planning – what activities will we undertake to meet our strategic priorities?

In conjunction with the member survey results, this session/workshop should result in having some clear priorities. This includes an overarching direction and a list of manageable, high impact initiatives with measurable outcomes and timeframes.

Adequate follow up steps and a tracking process should be implemented to ensure the Board and any stakeholders stay on track.

Consideration should be given to engaging an external facilitator to ensure that all Board/Executive Members can fully participate in the session, providing the best outcome.

Membership Renewal Communication Plan

Once a survey and strategy day has been completed, it is now time to communicate all the activities, past and planned (3 to 12 months) to encourage renewal. As it can take up to 8 touch point for your message to be heard, it’s imperative that Boards are communicating at least 3-4 months prior to membership renewal time on multiple channels.

Associations can successfully deliver messaging by having a clear communication road map in the lead up to renewals. This will be more impactful than any adhoc communications and last minute social media posts.

A renewal communications plan should include the following;

  • Message/Topic
  • Schedule/Frequency
  • Platform/Delivery Method
  • Evaluation

If you need assistance with member surveys, strategy days or implementing an effective communication strategy in either the lead up to membership renewal, or over the next 12 months, please contact Lynne Greenaway lynne@theassociationspecialists.com.au