Membership Recruitment vs Retention
We continue to try and recruit new members and grow our clubs as well as face as the ongoing challenge of current members. Whereas recruiting new members is important to the development of the club, how important is it to retain current members? A debatable topic, while some persist that recruiting new members is more important, others maintain that retention is more critical. 
A common thought process among club officers is that if we are not attracting new members, then the possibility of our club surviving in the long run is low. Although growing the club is important, it is equally as vital to maintain your current membership and foster the relationship between club officers and these members as they are a great resource to stimulate the growth of the club. In the ongoing debate about recruitment vs. retention, we side with retention.
  • A low retention rate signals the presence of underlying problems in your club. When a club fails to maintain their member count continuously, club officers need to get involved and analyze the causes. Whether this mean speaking with the ex-members directly or brainstorming ideas with the club, or perhaps getting a neutral third party involved, getting to the root of the issue is vital. If current members continue to leave, the dynamics in your club will not attract potential members and as such they won’t see any value in joining. Simply put, if you are unable to retain your current members then what guarantee is there that you will be able to recruit new members and have them stay.  
  • If you can get retention right then you can build the foundation to recruit new members upon. When your club has a high retention rate, you can be sure that you must be doing something right to have so many satisfied and content members. Satisfied members are more than happy to mentor new members and share the clubs success stories with others and are proud to be evangelists. Their attitude creates a positive atmosphere in the club which is appealing and welcoming and as such, recruiting new members actually becomes easier. Take advantage of a good retention rate and build that into your recruiting strategy by involving all members in the membership process.  
  • Finally, when a club fails to retain its members, it eventually begins to suffer financially as the revenue collected gets affected. The club does not collect as much in membership dues or events. With an already unstable account, the club then has very limited funds to administer their marketing activities in order to recruit new members.
Whereas the ongoing debate as to which is more important continues, we believe that retention is vital to a clubs’ success, and without a solid retention strategy in place, any recruitment efforts will get wasted. How does your club gauge its retention rate, member satisfaction, and use that to build up recruitment? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reasoning on this topic. Join the conversation on our facebook page!
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