Five Smart Strategies to Boost Member Retention amid COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in the era of “nice to have” vs. “need to have”.

Individuals and organizations are adapting to a new economic reality that’s likely to last well into 2021 and beyond. For associations, it means members are scrutinizing how they spend their money and are carefully evaluating the value they’re receiving in return. While high retention rates have been typical for long-standing members, even tenured constituents are now assessing their usage of benefits and calculating the cost before making renewal decisions.

If you’re seeking to bolster your membership organization’s retention rate, here are five strategies to consider.

  1. Create flexibility in payment options.                                                                                              

    In an uncertain economic landscape, adaptability reigns supreme. For example, you might opt to extend the time period for members to pay their dues, which could help retain folks who are unable to remit on time or are on the fence about renewing. Similarly, you might choose to split the dues into several partial payments. To help avoid canceled memberships, many organizations are allowing people to pause their memberships instead.  Others have decided to let members pay a reduced amount to maintain their membership until they can afford to pay the full amount again. Every organization is different so consider your unique needs and how to best adapt your renewal payment policies during this time.

  2. Get creative with membership levels.

    Another popular option is the offering of lower membership tiers that only provide access to certain content. This is a way to keep members participating even if they can’t afford the full fee at this time. When they can afford more, they can rejoin the full paid membership. You may even find that participation ultimately increases because most people appreciate having options when funds are limited.

  3. Adjust your renewal communications.

    During times of financial unease, communicating to your members and highlighting the ROI of membership is imperative. It’s wise to include a thoughtful letter with the renewal invoice that outlines how your organization is supporting its members and what steps you’ve implemented to assist them. Use an encouraging tone, choose words that convey compassion, and incorporate supportive gestures that communicate your sincere desire to preserve their membership.

  4. Solidify your onboarding process.  

    Starting off on the right foot is vital to the success of any relationship. Now is the time to take a critical view of your organization’s onboarding process and the journey new members take. A well-constructed onboarding process should clearly welcome and fully integrate them into your community. Are you doing everything possible to reinforce new members’ decision to join your organization? Take this golden opportunity to highlight all that you have to offer and the many ways you can help them take advantage of these powerful benefits.

  5. Enhance your web presence.

    More people are online than ever before and that means your web presence needs to be at its best. A robust, appealing, and easy-to-navigate membership site will help you with both acquisition and retention, so it’s a smart investment. Even relatively minor changes can go a long way to improving the experience for your members and visitors alike. Captivate the online community by ensuring your homepage is accurate and easy to read, uses powerful visuals, and offers plenty of direct paths for people to learn more and get involved.

Don’t be afraid to modify your strategy. Even the best of plans may need adjustments as situations change. And after the volatility of 2020, we all know how fluid things can be. Adopt the approaches that best suit your organization and fine-tune them as you move forward.

Take this opportunity to create rich experiences that can deepen your member connections.

For nearly 20 years, IBC has been helping associations, unions, and non-profits drive member retention with state-of-the-art strategies and innovative iMIS software solutions. Please contact our experts to learn more. 

About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS, LMS, and Virtual Event Solutions for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at or call 443.603.0215.

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