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Top tips on membership retention

The key to understanding membership retention is to take a step back, put yourselves in the shoes of your members and really reflect on what is important to them as individuals. There are many things that can help a member feel more bonded to an organisation at an individual level, but these three broad themes cover the areas that you should pay most attention to when thinking about member retention.

1. Ensure your offer is relevant to them

Target 1

A one-size fits all approach is rarely the best way to manage the member relationship, so take time to ensure that different membership grades, age groups, specialisms and so on, have got access to tools, resources, events and information that are tailored and relevant to them. Segmenting your membership to understand more about how different groups look and feel is really helpful. You might also want to consider looking at creating member personas: relatable expressions of member typologies that help bring to life what your different segments look like and want.

2. Communicate regularly – but don’t bombard

Keep members updated about what you’re doing. Ensuring they are up to speed on areas such as:

- The direction of travel of the organisation


- News or blogs from your president, CEO or chair

- Your involvement in policy debates and lobbying

- Information and resources that might be helpful for them

- Changes in legislation that may affect them

- Opportunities for volunteering

- Local and national events

- Introductions to other members and networking opportunities 

Communications like this are great for helping members feel they are in the loop.

Many members like to feel informed, so a regular update from their professional body is a good way of achieving this. Ensure that communications are timely (ideally ask members how frequently they wish to hear from you and set this up accordingly). If you have taken the time to ask members to provide you with their interests, specialisms, location, etc, then try to personalise these communications as much as possible. Personalised communications are becoming an expectation rather than a ‘nice to have’, so ensuring that you’re making the most of available member data is a valuable investment.

3. Ensure you listen to your members


Giving members the opportunity to share their views with you is very important. This can be through surveys, focus group discussions, online community spaces or simply through meeting them at events.

Most members appreciate two-way interaction with their professional association, which is a good way of building and maintaining overall levels of engagement. This is also a great opportunity to ask members what really matters to them – and once you have got this information, ensure you use it effectively and to the benefit of your members. If you know what members’ expectations are of you as an organisation, what they want from you and what they value the most, this information can be used intelligently to reinforce that you are giving them what they require. All this helps build member retention. 


By Lindsey Nadin, Associate Director

This entry was posted in Membership, tagged Membership, Communication, Listening, Engagement, Retention and posted on July 18, 2016

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