Association Connect

Sustaining Member Dues Revenue

By Craig Lauer | May 4, 2020

During this period, some members are struggling with strained budgets and are being forced to make tough decisions about what expenses to prioritize. Thoughtful, empathetic tactics for encouraging and assisting members to renew can help your association maintain a healthy membership base, ensuring you are there for them when they need you most. While non-dues revenue strategies are as critical as ever, sustaining member dues during the COVID-19 crisis can make the difference between being able to deliver on your mission and falling short. 

Accept Installment Payments

If you don’t already offer an option for members to pay in installments, they might welcome and appreciate the option. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that you are in touch with their financial challenges. 

Extend Grace Periods

Giving members the option of taking an extension on paying their dues is another way to show support—and to keep members you could otherwise lose. Consider language such as: 

If you renew now, it will help us to continue delivering all the benefits that are so critical. If you need an extension, we can work with you. 

  • I am ready to renew now and pay my membership dues to help sustain the association’s critical mission.
  • I am ready to renew now but would deeply benefit from a three-month grace period.

Craft Sensitive Member Renewal Notifications

Let members know you understand the hurdles they are currently facing. More than ever, how you communicate a renewal needs to be understanding—yet persuasive. It can help for you to celebrate your members’ achievements and determination during this crisis. Connect these success stories to the value they receive from membership in your association.

Consider a Digital-Only Membership

Among the many options for tiered membership, a digital-only membership can entice members  who otherwise might find membership out of reach. In addition to keeping members you could otherwise lose, it could attract new members.

Offer Free Incentives for Renewing

Whether it’s a free gift, such as branded merchandise, or something as simple as a plaque, award, or callout in your publication, an incentive will encourage renewed membership. Now might also be the time to consider a reduced renewal rate or a lower price for a multi-year renewal. 

Adapt and Communicate Your Value to Members

Distribute regular communications, such as enewsletters, and increase engagement on your social media. Send out a survey to determine what members really need right now. Then adapt your offerings based on member feedback and clearly communicate those changes.

Share Your Ideas

Have other ideas for how to encourage members to renew during challenging times? We’d love to hear them.

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