If your charity or association depends financially on membership fees, you know that non-renewals are cause for concern. During this time of economic and occupational insecurity, you may be experiencing membership drop-offs and some anxiety about your organization’s future. How can you help retain members and attract new ones to your not-for-profit? By focusing on needs, providing value and prioritizing engagement.
Ask about their needs
It may seem pretty basic, but to keep members you may have to offer something they need: for example, education, networking opportunities, research, discounts or credentials. And the only sure way to get a handle on what your members need is to ask them.
Accomplish this through formal surveys, focus groups and online polls as well as by simply asking your members when you talk with them. How are your products and services meeting their needs? What do they need that you’re not providing? Needs aren’t static, and a lot has changed over the past year. So check in with members on an ongoing basis.
Consider your value proposition
Offering the right mix of products and services is important. But you also must emphasize your organization’s value proposition. This is the unique experience that your members have when they interact with your nonprofit and its offerings.
Try making an emotional appeal that taps into the intangibles of being part of your group. Depending on your mission, you might tout the value of individuals banding together to create a powerful voice for change, the chance to help improve the conditions in your community or the ability to network with local or industry leaders.
Create engagement avenues
Members who are deeply involved will stick with your organization. Create as many avenues as you can for members to participate, for example, as board and committee members, event managers, or publication contributors.
Treat your members as individuals whenever possible. Always address correspondence to them specifically (never to “member at large”) and consider offering them personalized content when they visit your website. Also make sure that it’s easy to renew membership through your website and that the renewal process enables multiyear memberships — possibly at a discounted rate.
If your nonprofit is struggling under its current revenue model (for example, a heavy dependence on membership fees), contact us. We can help find sustainable revenue streams that enable stability and longevity.