One thing you can always count on is change. While it is necessary to focus your attention on attracting new association members, it is important to know why existing members choose to leave.
Sometimes it is just a life change like a relocation, but what if members leave because of a lack of open-mindedness in your organization, or because they stopped feeling valued? There could be any number of reasons why one decides to exit, and you should make it a priority to understand what motivates their desire to leave.
To help minimize membership reduction, be sure to have a clearly defined mission statement that is really a vision for the future. Is it up-to-date with what your organization stands for today? Is it exciting? Are members proud to share that mission?
When a member does leave, it’s a good practice to follow up with a personal phone call, especially if that member had a high level of involvement in your association. An email can do the trick if you lack the resources to make phone calls. Or consider using another member in the organization to reach out if possible.
Here are some tips for what to ask:
What caused your decision not to renew?
- Not enough time to use the benefits
- Time pressures
- Feel the association no longer addresses my concerns
- Services too general
- Did not receive the expected value to justify the cost
- Change of job/career/business focus
- Dissatisfied with association performance or local branch
- Not enough local activity
- Association was ineffective in representing the profession/community/sector
- The group was not a fit for me
- This is no longer a priority for me
- Employer stopped paying membership subscription
If their reason for leaving is not based on a life change, ask:
- Is there something we could have done differently to prevent your exit?
- If yes, please provide details.
- OR complete the following: I would have renewed my membership if…
- Would you still recommend this association to a friend?
- Would you re-join in the future?
Develop a few questions based on their replies to address the specific concerns that this member expressed.
Now your organization will have the information it needs to better serve its members and to foster better retention rates.