6 Smart Tips to Boost Member Retention at Your Association

Nowadays, with so many associations and organizations around, membership priorities have changed. How would you like to learn that focusing on your existing members will provide higher efficiency than acquiring new ones?

While it’s important to grow the number of association members, your existing ones will provide more value than you think! Working on building strong relationships with your members and engaging them will boost the efficiency of your association faster. Why? Mostly because people tend to go where they are appreciated and taken care of.

But how can you achieve it?

That’s what this article intends to discuss. We will cover how member retention is a more effective strategy than acquisition. Plus, you will receive actionable tips on how you can boost membership retention at your association.

So, without losing time, let’s get right into it!

Member Retention vs Member Acquisition

The advantages of member acquisition are numerous. It costs 5 times more to acquire a new member than to retain a current one. There are many reasons why you should focus your efforts on member acquisition as part of your project management skills and customer retention strategies.

Let’s discuss the major ones.

  • Member retention provides a better ROI. Especially when you’re just starting, it’s essential to keep track of your budget and expenses to make sure the results won’t let you down. Existing members are very valuable, and with a little extra care, they will easily make it to your loyal members’ list.
  • Retained members keep it active. If you have a loyal group of people, they are more likely to be engaged during your events, various activities, and discussions if you have any.
  • Loyal members provide new ones. Humans are more likely to believe in other humans’ experiences, advice, and opinion. As you retain more members, more people become dedicated to the community you’ve created, and they will most likely bring in new members. An alternative to this would be to craft a referral marketing campaign for acquiring new members.
Member Retention vs Member Acquisition

Switching up your current member acquisition strategy and focusing your marketing on retaining existing members will bring you better results for the long term. But how do you do it? What are some proven best practices?

6 creative ways to retain your members

1. Plan interactive events

Events, discussions, and other types of gatherings within your community are well-thought-out ways of keeping your members engaged. From hot topics in your industry to show off the values of your association, you can use events to engage existing members more and, at the same time, acquire new ones.

Here are some useful tips to help organize unique events:

  • Define your perfect member persona. This will be your guide to gathering people who will be interested in your association’s activities and events.
  • Set a clear agenda, content, and guest list. Depending on your goal and the audience you want to reach out to, implement relevant event ideas and optimize content at its best. Make sure to provide networking opportunities, invite industry experts, and don’t forget about the fun.
  • Reach out the right way. Organizing an interesting event is important but spreading the word out plays an even better role. Once you’ve perfectly set your event activity list, promote it to your audience through the right channels.

Association events are considered primarily for existing members. However, you can use these as a strategy to attract new members too. You can even build a website for your association and share upcoming event news and updates.

2. Provide membership benefits

Whether new or existing, members are always looking for benefits and comfort with your association. The efficiency of your member retention strategy also depends on what makes you stand out from other associations in your field.

The question remains: what membership advantages can you offer?

Here are some irresistible ideas you can try out.

  • Research what your members want and expect from their cooperation with the help of surveys and discussions.
  • Provide virtual member engagement opportunities so that it’s easier to communicate, share, and network.
  • Introduce mentoring opportunities simply because most people join associations for professional networking.
  • Prepare volunteering opportunities that will help members gain experience and meet professionals in your industry.
  • Make unique offers that are specific to your industry: insurance coverage, travel opportunities, and shipping benefits are all examples of outstanding benefits.

In short, benefits that your members can’t ignore are the ones that provide clear value. Whether you’re trying to help members use their budget smartly or give them some career boost, it needs to be specified to help retain members for the long term.

3. Use customized communication channels

To retain members and build strong relationships with them you need effective communication methods. This also includes choosing the right means and channels to keep in touch.

Even though this might be challenging, it helps improve member retention and conversion optimization rates. Your association needs to determine the most effective ways to connect and resonate with members. And with so many channels out there, it gets confusing sometimes.

So, let us help you out a little by giving you the following tips.

  • Customize the communication channels you’ll use for your members. Find out which methods are most convenient for them by asking through surveys, during discussions and conferences, or newsletters. Another option is to use your existing database or take a look back to see which channels helped you the most.
  • Send personalized messages so that your members feel valued. Getting into deep research and learning about your members, their wants and needs will help craft the content they’re expecting. And, the more personal your message gets, the more members are to trust your association and stick around.
  • Give existing members extra attention and care. As a member of your association, people need to feel appreciated. A simple check-in message or a small postal card will help keep them by your side and be loyal.
  • Make sure they are warmly welcomed. When your members come onboard, introduce them with a welcoming kit. Design them with attention to details, just as you would when creating an employee handbook.
Use customized communication channels

4. Avoid overdoing

Speaking of communication, it’s important to know where the threshold is. Sending out irrelevant newsletters, messages that don’t resonate, and numerous check-in calls within a week won’t do any good.

We’ve all been in a cycle of never-ending promotional emails that don’t even seem to resonate with you. Yet, we’ve been lazy enough to not hit the ‘Unsubscribe’ button...

Overdoing contacts contains the risk of appearing spammy, boring, and will drive off existing members. Instead, focus on quality communication that helps create a bond with your association members.

5. Discover why members leave

Coming back to appearing irrelevant, make sure you learn why members have left your association.

Effective member retention is what we constantly think about. And with so many associations craving the attention and time of people, it gets even harder to make members stick around. According to a study by Marketing General, 43% of associations say that members leave because of lack of engagement.

While there can be various reasons why existing members don’t renew and leave your association instead, here are some possible motives to consider.

  • Lack of value. People join your association because they expect some form of value. And, if you don’t provide them with enough benefits, you might lose them.
  • Lack of communication. Another reason for memberships is building relationships with your association, with other members, and with possible partners.
  • Lack of activity. Avoid keeping it all quiet. Instead, organize engaging activities, fun events, and valuable discussions to retain members for the long term.

Beyond these, surveys and interviews are the best ways to find out the causes of membership abandonment. Make sure you do this before losing valuable members who want to engage and communicate more.

6. Consider membership management platform

How to make sure you’re all prepared for your member retention strategy? Simple management software allows you to complete the following: contact potential members, gather specific databases for future use, organize the interaction with existing members.

Additionally, this software will help to:

  • Schedule event calendar and share with members
  • Track attendance and member activity
  • Use built-in tools and features for better productivity
  • Manage all your operations from one spot
Consider membership management platform

We all have to admit that membership retention becomes easier and more simple with specific tools. If you’re not using one yet, you should definitely give it a try! With just a few clicks you can organize the whole membership of your association and improve retention in a relatively short period.


For all the points discussed, one thing is clear: customization, care, and communication are the main keys to boosting member retention at your association. Plus, great organization and management come in handy as additional tools.

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