11 October 2012
Membership retention isn't about renewal invoices: how many you send, when, in what format.
Or at least, it isn't ONLY about the invoices.
When someone decides to join your association, she's responding to a promise made - your brand promise.
Your association has promised her a certain experience with your communications, your staff, and your events. You've promised to make her professional life better in tangible ways. You've promised to connect her with other professionals who share her goals and passion, who can help her become a better professional, and who she, in turn, can help in the same endeavor. You promised to make her investment of time and money in your organization worth her while. Are you delivering?
Do you know what your brand promise is? Because it doesn't matter what you think it is. What matters is what your audiences think it is, and how they translate their experiences with your organization.
Are you living up to it? Because if you're not, it won't matter how awesome your renewal pitch is, or when you send it, or how many times, or in what format. People will leave. Sure, not all of them - there are some members who will renew virtually no matter what. But everyone else - and believe me, that's the majority of your members - is at risk.
Got churn? Declining membership? Before you freak out about "should we send 4 or 5 notices?" or "should we start sending them 3 or 4 months in advance?" ask yourself: "are we keeping our promise to our members?"
Yeah, it's a bigger question and may be a harder problem to solve, but unlike sending an additional notice, it will actually cure the disease rather than slapping on a band-aid.
Image credit: awesome branding word cloud from the Journal of Hospital Marketing blog