Member Retention: Now you got them so how do you keep them?
Many clubs are looking for ways to keep their members, but may not realize that they may be losing them until they notice that meetings are consistently not well attended or that membership numbers decrease from month to month. So the question is, when does member retention start? Immediately! The first day a member joins, your club has to constantly work to keep members happy and find new and innovative ways to maintain member satisfaction. After all, the largest majority of non-renewals come from first-year members with a loss rate as high as 50 percent.
Did you know that it’s cheaper to retain a member rather than recruit a new one? Why is that the case? Because when a member is lost, two must be recruited to grow so it's double the time, effort, and money to attain the desired results. Also, when a member is retained, new growth occurs with every new recruit since it is likely that every member will bring in at least one new one. So how can you make this happen for your club? There are 6 golden rules that will bring your club retention success:
  1. Respond and receive promptly. New members need to feel included and welcomed as soon as they join the club. There’s no such thing as too much communication! New members want to know what the club is all about and quickly learn about its culture and practices before spreading the word. Make this a club effort by ensuring each member is involved with the new member's induction. Use ClubRunner's new Member Orientation module to create and assign the list of tasks to each participating member and have the membership committee chair ensure that these are done.
  1. Demonstrate personal interest. If club executives don't show that they care about each member and the value he/she brings, it will cause the member re-evaluate the reason for joining and second guess participation. Pay attention to member attendance records and follow up with new members with a personal phone call when they miss a meeting. Use ClubRunner's Customized Attendance report to generate a view of meeting attendance to immediately see trends and act upon them.
  1. Deliver uninterrupted service. Constant and consistent meetings, communication and activities validate the club's purpose and goals. Make sure that new members are added to your ClubRunner member list to begin receiving the club eBulletin and other messages, and follow up with them to ensure that they are receiving these emails.
  1. Provide up-to-date resources. If there's supplementary information that will help to educate members and assist them to be an evangelist for your club, which will ultimately increase your membership roster. Maintain a members section on your website where they can find documents like bylaws, past events, and other useful info to gain a better picture of your club. Help them login to your ClubRunner site and show them how to use their section, including updating their profile, browsing the member directories, committee sections, and private documents area.
  1. Members' needs change, so does the need for ongoing research to evaluate their response. With non-traditional communication and marketing methods on the rise, don’t be afraid to step out of the familiar routine. Try different ways to create awareness about your club and activities so members will know that the club is informed about and taking advantage of current trends.
  1. Membership Audit. Provide avenues where you can receive feedback about your club (i.e. Conduct surveys, firesides, and assemblies) to determine success. You should audit members (new and long term), officers and the membership committee to get a well rounded response of your club success.
By following all these rules, not only will your club retain your current members, but these members will be excited to promote the club and contribute to its growth and success in your community. From the first day members joins your club, the challenge is on to make sure they're happy and actively involved. Instead of always sporadically reacting to losing members, invest in the well being of your members and your club from the start, instead of playing catch up at the end.

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