Your members are the lifeblood of your organization. To maintain their support year after year, you need a membership renewal strategy.

Recruiting new members to your organization requires a significant investment of time and resources. It’s much more cost-effective to retain the support of existing members. Plus: members that stay are happy members, meaning your association, chamber of commerce, or other membership organization is doing the job you set out to do.

In this guide to membership renewal, we’ll cover everything you need to know about why a high renewal rate is important, and what strategies you can put in place to boost your organization’s rate. 

We’ve broken this information down into two main sections:

  • Why is having a high membership renewal rate important? 
  • 10 Membership Renewal Strategies

Why is a high membership renewal rate important?

A healthy membership renewal rate is great for a lot of reasons! But there are two factors you can’t ignore.

A healthy membership renewal rate:

  • Builds Better Member-to-Member Relationships: Many people join membership organizations to connect with industry peers and take advantage of networking opportunities. A high membership renewal rate means your organization maintains the engagement of a greater number of industry professionals, providing more benefits to members. 
  • Maintains Your Revenue Stream: A consistently high renewal rate means your organization can maintain a steady funding stream. You can spend less time wondering how you’re going to source revenue, and more time thinking about ways to diversify—and spend!—your revenue. For example, once you have a steady membership base, you can start thinking about growing your programs, like hosting more events.

10 Membership Renewal Strategies

So, how do you actually get your members to renew their membership? There are several effective strategies you can use to encourage your members to remain engaged with your association.

1. Demonstrate the value of your organization.

Lead with benefits. When it’s time to renew, spend a few months reminding your members of what they’ve gotten out of their membership so far—and what they can expect from you in the future.

Consider a quick letter, email, or postcard to members that recaps their past year with you. Call out events and opportunities like: 

  • Conferences
  • Mentorship programs
  • Networking opportunities
  • Social events
  • Discounts on related goods and services
  • Learning sessions
  • Leadership or volunteer positions

2. Update your offerings as member needs change.

Industries change over time, and so should your membership benefits. Take note of your industry’s current climate, and ask yourself:

  • What has changed in the past year?
  • Are we offering members the resources and tools they need to be successful in the industry?
  • How can we communicate what updates we’ve seen in the industry to our members?

Then, once you’ve evaluated what’s changed, measured your current offerings, and decided how to communicate any news, you can make the decisions you need to stay current.

3. Conduct a member satisfaction survey.

Don’t just guess what your members want. Ask them!

Send out a member needs assessment survey using your email newsletter, social media pages, or website. Ask members questions about their level of satisfaction with your organization and any changes they’d like to see.

Members will appreciate you asking for their feedback. But remember: put that feedback in place immediately, so they can see the impact they’ve made by contributing.

4. Create a membership retention plan.

You should start thinking about membership renewal from the moment a new member joins your organization. How? By creating a membership retention plan.

Your membership retention plan should:

  • Be a 12-month process that spans from registration to renewal
  • Include a month-by-month breakdown of what actions you need to take to make a member feel supporter
  • Cover everything from welcoming to engaging to mentoring your members, and beyond

For example, in month one, you might want to send a welcome packet. By month five, you may want to connect them with a peer mentor within your organization. Around month 11, you’ll be asking them more directly about renewing their membership. 

Whatever your plan is each month, take time to map out your engagement strategy in advance—it’ll save you in the long run.

5. Improve your membership renewal letter.

Membership renewal letters should be succinct and personalized. Review yours to make sure it includes key messages, including:

  • Highlights of your organization’s accomplishments from the past year
  • Membership expiration date
  • Quick, easy steps for how to renew

Looking for more tips on how to make your membership renewal letter shine? Check out our guide 3 Membership Renewal Letter Samples to Boost Your Renewal Rates.

6. Give members something to anticipate.

Encourage your members to renew by highlighting something they can look forward to once they do. This could include:

  • An upcoming conference or seminar
  • New training or educational opportunities
  • Your latest t-shirt design 
  • Available leadership opportunities

You can use language like, “Don’t miss out, renew your membership today!” to remind members that your upcoming benefits will lapse without their action.

7. Offer auto-renewals.

Use your membership management system to allow members to automatically renew their membership each year.

With auto-renewals, you:

  • Cut administrative costs tied to renewal follow-up and processing
  • Remove the burden of renewal from your members
  • Ensure your relationship is continued with minimal interruptions

Most of your members are likely busy people with many tasks pulling at their time. An auto-renewal takes one more thing off their plate, showing that you respect and value their time.

8. Offer discounts to those who renew.

Hate waiting until the last minute to find out if someone’s renewed?

Membership discounts could help incentivize early renewals. With your association management software, configure an early bird discount directly into your renewal form. That way, if they renew by a certain date, you both win.

You get certainty, and they get a discount.

9. Send members reminders on multiple platforms.

Have you ever opened an email, meant to respond, but then completely forgotten about it? In a world with many things asking for our attention, it can be easy to overlook a to-do item like renewing your membership.

To ensure members see and respond to your membership renewal requests, send them reminders through various channels. These could include:

  • Email reminders
  • Phone calls
  • Social media updates
  • Personalized, handwritten notes
  • Direct mailers
  • Flyers on your bulletin board

10. Thank members for renewing their membership.

If the renewal process begins the moment after registration, it also starts the moment after renewal. Don’t forget to give members who renew their memberships a genuine thank you: it shows members that they’re valued within your organization.

Expressing appreciation for members who have decided to renew their membership can establish a stronger connection moving into the new year, increasing the likelihood of another renewal in the future.

Increase Your Membership Renewal Rate With Ongoing Stewardship

A high membership renewal rate means reliable revenue for your organization and a healthy, consistent environment for your members.

Need help kickstarting your renewal program? MemberClicks’ association management software streamlines the membership renewal process. Make this critical task simple for your team by letting the software do the heavy lifting for you.

Use it to:

  • Automate dues renewals
  • Segment your membership into key renewal groups
  • Leverage marketing tools to auto-send renewal reminders to specific groups

Ready for higher member retention rates? Sign up for a free MemberClicks demo today!