One simple way to increase your association’s member retention: auto-renewal

There are multiple ways to increase your membership renewal rate.

Here’s one thing that can make a big difference right away.

Tirrah Switzer, Product Marketing, Membership, Community Brands


By Tirrah Switzer, Product Marketing Manager, Community Brands


Member retention is a key component of any association’s long-term success. There are various ways to increase member retention, including proactive member onboarding, ongoing member engagement, and membership renewal messages. But there’s one simple thing that can make a big difference right away: auto-renewal.

Part of the Community Brands Member Loyalty Study looked at why members fail to renew. It turns out that 13 percent of lapsed members simply forgot to renew.

A great way to address this issue is to offer an option to automatically renew membership, with the membership fee charged to the member’s credit card. Your membership management software should allow you to set up this option, with corresponding automated emails that notify members when their membership has been renewed. If members decide not to renew, they can simply update their account information to cancel the automatic payments.

When you think about it, this approach makes so much sense. These days, consumers are already accustomed to paying for monthly and annual subscription services (like Netflix and Amazon Prime), with fees automatically charged to their credit cards. So, why not give them the convenience of paying for their membership with your association the same way?

Offering an auto-renewal option provides multiple benefits for you and your members:

  • Makes things easier on your members – Members have uninterrupted service, without the need to remember their renewal date or take action after receiving a membership renewal notice.
  • Makes your staff more efficient – By reducing the number of lapsed memberships, your staff spends less time on the renewal process (writing and sending renewal messages, calling members), giving them more time to spend on creating a great member experience.

TIP: YourMembership association management software supports auto-renewals and also offers account updater functionality, which ensures that your recurring revenue remains intact even if your members’ card information changes. If an auto-renewal payment fails due to an expired or lost card, staff would normally have to call the member to get updated card information. With account updater functionality, that goes away. The Account Updater feature assures that the credit card information is updated, so associations maintain a seamless payment experience for both staff and members.

  • Gives your association a more predictable revenue stream – Lapsed memberships can create a bumpy revenue stream. Knowing that a certain percentage of your memberships will renew automatically gives you the ability to better predict your revenue each month and each year.
  • Reduces lapsed memberships – Of course, the ultimate goal is to reduce lapsed memberships, and auto-renewals help by addressing one of the top reasons members fail to renew: simply forgetting.

To kick off your auto-renewal option, first decide when you will activate the auto-renewal option in your association management software. Let your members know the option is coming and when it will be available. When the option is tested and live, let members know the option is available. Continue to promote the option year-round.

Also, create an “about auto-renewal” page on your website that includes details about your auto-renewal option. Be sure to link to the page from your membership renewal communications.

Learn more.
Auto-renewals are just one way to improve your membership renewal rate. Learn more about how to improve member retention: Watch the on-demand webinar, Proven Strategies to Increase Member Retention.

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