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If your organization relies solely on freebies, incentives, and discounts to get your members to renew their memberships, it won’t take long before you notice this isn’t working. That’s because there is a fundamental problem with your membership retention strategy. In order to engage members, get them involved, and entice them to renew their membership, nonprofits need to look at their members much like a for-profit business would look at their customers. Consider these tactics for keeping your members engaged and your organization growing.

Make Members Aware of Your Accomplishments

Remember that many of your members joined your organization for a reason, so it’s helpful to share the accomplishments of your association so members know where their membership dues are going. Include progress updates on strategic initiatives or other achievements in your newsletter or website so members are up-to-date on what you’ve been doing for them. For example, if your organization awarded a scholarship, include information about the recipient and how this scholarship has made a difference in their life. Make sure to thank members for their support both financially and physically.

Survey Your Members

It is important to survey your members to ask why they decided to join, and then work to deliver the benefits that are most meaningful to them. Find out what it is that motivates them to be a part of your organization, what would entice them to renew, and what they see as the most valuable benefits of being a member. Use this information to enhance your membership benefits and opportunities for engagement, increasing renewals through authentic strategies rather than marketing ploys.

Communicate Through Various Channels

Nothing will lose members faster than lack of communication. How can members engage in your organization and attend events if they don’t know about them? How can they address specific needs that they don’t know exist? Communicate with members on a regular basis so they are always informed of happenings within the organization. You should also use a variety of communication methods to reach members such as email, social media, or mailings. You can take it one step further by asking board and committee members to make personal phone calls inviting members to an upcoming event or reminding them that it’s time to renew their membership.

Host a Networking Event

As the member of a professional association, networking is a key activity that is not only fun, but critical to members’ professional growth as well as the growth of the organization. Inviting new members to a networking event will allow them to make lasting connections and surround themselves with others who share similar interests and ambition. Networking events can also provide opportunities for members to volunteer, sign up for future events, refer a friend, or talk with current board members and association leaders about what’s going on in the industry.

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