November 1st, 2013 | Posted in Member Engagement + Retention, Membership Management
While it is hard to believe anyone would want to break up with us, as membership organizations we all know it happens sometimes. There are many consultants out there who are happy to give you the key to engaging your members but it’s not formulaic. True engagement comes from conversations. Here are some things you can do to improve your engagement and help retention — but know that the real key is to use this advice to come up with something that works for your members.
1. Engagement is a full time job. I’m not saying you need an engagement officer. You can empower all of your staff and your members to serve as engagement officers for you but know that this type of reaching out to members must be on your mind at all times. Train staff and volunteer members to look for ways they can make the members feel special. Opportunities abound and they’re rarely costly.
2. Make members feel human. The term “engagement” can be a little numbing when you hear it over and over. The premise behind it is getting members and staff involved to the point that you are top-of-mind for them. If your members feel disposable and more like a number, or line item on your accounting records, they’ll never be engaged. This means you must reach out to them at times of the year that don’t involve them opening their wallets to you. Offer them congratulations on that promotion or ask their opinion on something. Have a conversation about something other than dues.
3. Give them something to believe in. I’ve written about it in reference to Millennials, but it is so important to communicate the good you are doing. You may think it is obvious to everyone that you support the X industry but you’re more than just that industry. Add content to your site about how you serve that industry. Break it down into understandable terms and what it means for the greater community. You don’t just support tree trimmers, for instance. You help those who are the first line of defense for safety issues like downed power lines.
These are just a few suggestions I had to improve member retention through engagement. There’s no secret sauce you can feed members to ensure they’ll be loyal forever, but making them feel special and giving them something they can’t get elsewhere is a good start.
photo credit: Dr. Keats, flickr creative commons
This is my 287th, and final, post as a YMer. Going forward you’ll be able to find me talking about content and engagement strategies at www.christinargreen.com.
October 17th, 2013 | Posted in Member Engagement + Retention
Member onboarding — what’s your organization’s program look like? What happens when a new member joins? Do they receive an outdated form letter with a brochure? Or worse yet, perhaps they aren’t notified at all besides a receipt from their initial dues payment.
Your member onboarding program sets the tone for the member’s (future) relationship with your organization. Having an engaging member onboarding process will help ensure your new member’s success and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these basics tips to be on your way to solidifying a meaningful relationship between you and your members:
Once a member joins the organization they should be contacted by a senior or experienced member. Some of the best ways are the most personal. Phone calls with brief explanations of benefits as well as recognition at in-person events and meetings start the relationship off right. If your organization doesn’t have the ability for one-on-one contact like this, work hard to find a creative solution and avoid the ‘form letter.’ Don’t get me wrong, they work great for getting information to the hands of new members but they shouldn’t be your organization’s first introduction. Read the rest of this entry »
October 10th, 2013 | Posted in Member Engagement + Retention
Knowing what your members want is critical to success
As Shakespeare wrote, parting is such sweet sorrow. Or is it? Admit it. There are probably some members you would be glad to see walk out the door and take their problems with them. Assuming we are not referring to these people, how do you keep retention numbers high and disenfranchised members low? We have some tips for you below:
1. Work around their schedule. Members can’t make it to every event. Sometimes they can’t even get around to picking up the phone during office hours. For these reasons, allowing for online dues renewal is essential to improving renewal rates. The other side of online renewal is automatic credit card renewals. If you’re not offering this now, you might want to consider it. There’s a reason so many companies auto-renew memberships and services. Read the rest of this entry »
October 2nd, 2013 | Posted in Member Engagement + Retention
Improving communication with your members can improve member relations, help with loyalty, increase word-of-mouth referrals, bolster renewals, and even improve your standing as a first, and only stop, shop for information. It’s obvious why you’d want to improve your communications with members but how do you go about doing it?
For those readers who want to have their communication problems instantaneously solved, it is easy to say the best way to improve communication is to (forgive us Nike) just do it. But there’s more to effectively improving communication than just communicating with greater frequency. Yes, that’s a start but if you only increase frequency, you run the risk of members tuning you out. There’s a lot of noise in your members’ lives. You don’t want to be perceived as yet another source of it.