Strategies for Nonprofit Membership Renewals
Membership is vital for the survival and continued functioning of any nonprofit organization. High membership numbers and their retention through membership renewals improve your organization’s effectiveness and ensure growth.
There are many channels for increasing nonprofit membership renewals ranging from volunteering during fundraising campaigns to using professional agencies to track your potential customers and increase your organization’s brand awareness.
Just 31% of offline-only first-time donors and 25% of online-only first-time donors are retained for more than one year. What is it that makes nonprofit membership renewals so difficult to retain? Are there ways to alleviate these issues?
Why Nonprofit Membership Renewal is Important
Nonprofit membership renewal is a constant, crucial process necessary to sustain your organization financially. Yet, nonprofits big and small alike typically experience a large percentage of membership turnover.
Around 45% of all donors across the world are enrolled in a monthly giving program. Members of a nonprofit organization are generally more philanthropic than non-members. Thus, membership renewal is a vital contributor to an organization’s financial security.
Highlighting the Benefits of Nonprofit Membership
To appreciate the exchange that occurs between a nonprofit organization and a member, it is important for both parties to understand exactly what nonprofit membership entails. This will help the member understand all they are gaining through membership and the ways they can contribute to the success of the organization.
By clearly defining the perks of membership and the important role committed supporters play in advancing the mission of your nonprofit organization, you incentivize strong renewal rates.
Make it clear what facilities, benefits, and other privileges members will enjoy as part of your organization. Will they be educating themselves by joining? Are there any new experiences they should look forward to?
Whether members will be receiving a vote during the annual general meeting, a seat on the board, or simply a newsletter, remind prospects what nonprofit membership entails.
Since many donors check histories and public records of organizations before opting for membership, it is very important to maintain transparency regarding what the organization has provided for its members in previous years.
Provide specific examples of the benefits of membership via social media and include online testimonials as a means of building trust with your future members. Research shows that 72% of people trust organizations on the basis of online reviews and testimonials.
Nonprofit membership should be mutually beneficial to the member and the organization. Tell potential renewals and new members what they can do to aid your organization in its endeavors and how they can take full advantage of all membership has to offer.
Do you have donation programs in place? If so, make them transparent. Help members help you—they need clear guidance as to how they can promote your mission and vision.
Be it through membership drives, awareness-raising initiatives, or just gathering support, all members should have a detailed understanding of how they can further the goals of your organization. This will bring meaning to their membership and simultaneously boost the profile and activities of your organization.
Membership contributions highlighted through social media reach a large number of your potential members. Therefore, it is important to look at your social media profiles, email campaigns, and newsletters regularly to analyze their impact on your membership renewal process.
For example, if you notice that data-driven posts from your organization’s Facebook page get you more followers as compared to regular posts, then this shows your members are more inclined toward your organization’s progress numbers than its routine programs.
Strategies to Boost Nonprofit Membership Renewals
The chances for membership renewal increase when members are given complete clarity on the benefits they will receive from continuing their membership. They should also have an understanding of the benefits they would deliver to the organization. Thus, a two-way relationship is established
You may use several effective strategies to boost nonprofit membership renewals:
Look after your members. Make sure a mentorship program is in place wherein senior members encourage new members to take an active part in events and organizational initiatives. This will help with the transfer of responsibility as junior members learn and grow into senior membership roles over time.
Nurturing members will help streamline the process of membership and ensure that your members respond positively to your requests for renewals. It will also act to create a bond between members and your organization. Renewals are more likely to occur when members feel that sense of connection with the organization and the people involved in it.
Looking to the Past
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is why it’s crucial to analyze data trends from preceding years and understand the shifts your organization has experienced in membership renewals. Factors you may want to consider include the average number of annual membership renewals, the average duration of membership, and activity (participation/donations) during membership.
You should also look at the demographics of your members—where and what age groups most of your donations are coming from. Analyze the reasons for this and consider how you can broaden membership appeal to a wider audience.
Use donor segmentation to tailor membership renewal campaigns to groups with mutual backgrounds and interests to boost renewal rates among those demographics.
Communication and Concerns
Make sure to promptly address any issues that arise with your members. Ensure that all lines of communication between your organization and its members are open and easily accessible. Proper and consistent communication goes a long way in avoiding misunderstandings.
Making this extra effort demonstrates to your members that your organization appreciates them and prioritizes their concerns.
Be sure to request members renew via multiple platforms to ensure it remains top of mind. Nonprofit organizations have an email open rate of 25.50%, which means on average, three out of four emails you send will generally remain unopened.
Using multiple communication channels increases the number of opportunities for you to remind members it’s time to renew. Tracking how existing members are responding to membership renewals can help you understand where miscommunication may be occurring and offer insight into where improvements can be made.
Communication also allows you to understand if the renewal process is needlessly complicated. Streamlining the renewal process allows members to be comfortable and makes them more amiable.
Providing a 24/7 Online Membership Renewal Gateway
Sending your members email and text reminders with an attached 24/7 functional membership renewal link increases the likelihood of membership retention.
Remember, membership renewal should be as simple and user-friendly as possible. Membership renewal that involves simple signup at a time convenient to your members is much more likely to be successful compared to a burdensome renewal process where members must navigate to your website and find a link themselves.
Surveys help you understand what your members want. They are a vital method of communication and validation. Surveys can also serve as a means to acknowledge donors’ expectations from your organization.
A survey can collect important information that you can use to better understand what membership means for your organization. Careful consideration of this data allows you to see which members are more likely to be retained, enabling you to concentrate your efforts on these individuals.
Surveys may also assist you in identifying why some members choose not to renew. This kind of information is valuable for improving future member retention initiatives.
The fundamental keys to achieving positive nonprofit membership renewal rates are communication, remaining consistent and true to your organization’s mission and values, and making the renewal process as user-friendly as possible.
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