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Solutions to Lagging Membership in Troubled Times

by | Mar 20, 2009 | Membership & Marketing

How does that children’s rhyme go again?

It’s raining….it’s pouring….the old man is ignoring (all of my membership invitations)

Something like that at least.

Some of you may be getting very tired of this monsoon we seem to be in. Membership may be down, or if it’s not, you may be watching it like the proverbial canary in the coal mine (as an indicator for worse things to come).

But tough times call for inventive thinking and can help you with that.

Many “economic gurus” are suggesting individuals give up their memberships as a way of saving money. Tough economic times, time to cut back, pinch pennies…we’ve all heard it. You can’t argue that eliminating a dues payment would save your members some money but what will it cost them to give it up? What value are they losing?

Member Education– when times are tough, ensuring your skills and knowledge set are as up-to-date as the industry is is essential. What are you doing for your members to help with continued education or skills acquisition?’s site allows you to upload PDFs and videos of anything you want, including materials that would help your members stay current with industry standards and practices. You can even decide whether you want to charge for these services or not.

Camaraderie – in this uncertain economic time your members don’t want to be alone with their fears and uncertainties. They are looking for a guiding force. If you don’t step in there and help them to feel better, someone else will. And who knows better about what they are going through than you? Let them know you understand.

Our membership management software allows you to survey your members about how you can better serve their needs and interests. You can also blog about the specific difficulties (or successes) that your industry is facing. Feel free to set up user groups that address people’s concerns but keep your messages positive.

Pay-It-Forward: passing your savings on– money is on all of our minds. That’s the reason some members are considering terminating memberships. Offering discount incentives may be a way of retaining members and cultivating new ones. You can even set up a trial membership/duesschedule to entice joiners.’s member management software allows you to process discounts for anything from dues to events. Have several events/seminars during a year? Consider offering a discount card for purchase much the same way retailers do. Your members pay $X for this card and receive discounts on everything throughout the year. With’s credit card payment process you could even pass along a savings opportunity to discount dues to those who pay online (since the system can be set up to take cards without staff handling, you could give an administration-free discount).

Career Development – your members are concerned about their jobs. It’s a stress that they can shoulder together as an online member community but why not use this time to ramp up your career/job mentoring feature on your membership site?’s software is designed to allow your members to post resumes and job listings. Why not take it a step further and encourage those who have made successful connections (networking or job links) to post about them? Create an optimistic oasis for members to escape the frightening world out there. You can even set up a function that allows you to charge employers who post jobs on your site.

We’ve named only a few ways to help retain membership through tough times, but rest assured that your software is capable of even more. As always, all of these features are part of your site with and your admin(s) can enable or disable any of these capabilities as your organization’s needs change and grow.


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