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A renewal campaign is a simple yet powerful way to increase membership dues revenue.

Here are tips for how to get a renewal campaign started, and what messages to include, to keep members around.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands

Here you are. It’s down to the final days before membership renewal time. How do you get those members who are up for renewal to stay with your association, especially in tough economic times? What will make them feel as if they can’t afford to leave?

The truth is, from the moment your members click the “join” button to the day their membership is set to expire, they’re deciding if they’ll stick around or if they’ll go. It’s important to think of the full member experience – from a welcome message and on-boarding process to year-round engagement – as part of your membership renewal efforts.

At the same time, you can employ specific efforts to increase renewal rates. For example, a simple yet powerful approach is to create a renewal campaign. Beyond one simple renewal email immediately before a membership is about to expire, a renewal campaign starts early, with multiple messages leading up to the big day.

To get started, plan the details of your membership renewal campaign. The campaign should include 2-3 email messages starting about 100 days before the membership expiration date, with a few weeks between each message. Here are three emails to consider including in your campaign:

1. Thank you note.
A simple expression of gratitude can go a long way toward driving membership renewals. Thank members for their membership. Acknowledge how long they have been a member and any ways they have volunteered or contributed to your association. Consider sending this message from the chairman of your board of directors to give it a more personal touch.

2. Value reminder.
Alert your members that their membership renewal date is coming up, and remind them of the benefits and value they receive from your organization. This is an ideal time to send a personalized message to each member. For example:

    • Remind members of the benefits they have not yet taken advantage of, and that there’s still time to do so.
    • Reinforce the value of membership by reminding them of the benefits they have taken advantage of, such as event discounts and learning opportunities.
    • Let members know about upcoming events and opportunities they’ll miss out on if they do not renew.
    • If you have relevant industry information relating to current events, share it. Link to web pages on your website so they can easily access the content.

3. Dues reminder.
Members need a reminder that it’s time to renew their membership. In fact, the Community Brands Member Loyalty Study found that 13 percent of lapsed members simply forgot to renew. Be sure to email members at least one month before their membership is due to renew to remind them that the time has come.

To take it a step further, 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.

BONUS TIPS

In your emails, be sure to:

  • Offer an option for member feedback. It’s especially important to listen to your members during tough times, so include a link to a survey that asks them about their pain points. This is a great way to understand your members better and determine what factors might influence their decision to renew.
  • Include a personal signature, and perhaps even a headshot, of your executive director or membership manager to close out your emails. This adds a personal touch that can be much more compelling than a “corporate” approach.
  • Don’t forget to include lapsed members in your campaign. Just because they forgot or decided not to renew previously doesn’t mean they won’t come back.

Learn more about ways to keep members around for the long haul: Read The Ultimate Guide to Membership Renewal.