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July 27, 2020

Membership Renewal in 2020: Retelling Your Story

Retelling your story is key to member renewal. Amidst the turmoil of 2020, are you communicating your commitment to members?

Membership retention is critical to the financial health and vitality of an organization. In the time of COVID-19, your renewal campaign is more important than ever.

As an association professional, you have likely spent the last six months fully immersed in the evolving challenges and needs of your members. And while you have probably adapted your benefits to ensure relevance and value, have you reframed your renewal messaging to communicate your investment in members?

Prioritizing the fundamentals

Even if you have run successful renewal campaigns in the past, this year marks a unique opportunity to rethink your approach to the fundamentals. For example, the pandemic has had a severe impact on your members, regardless of their industry or profession. From healthcare workers to engineers to teachers, professionals are being forced to adapt to unprecedented changes in their workforce.

Does your renewal messaging speak to these realities? Does it underscore how your association has stepped up — and plans to continue to step up — to protect and support its members?

Reshaping your story

Our collective storyline has shifted. With this comes an opportunity to connect over shared emotions and challenges. To make a convincing case for renewal, your messaging should showcase your efforts throughout the pandemic and highlight plans for supporting a continued uncertain trajectory. Members should want to renew because you have led them through the turbulence this far, igniting gratitude for their involvement with your association and faith in your ongoing guidance.

Let your members know how you will continue to:

Serve as a trusted source of information

How have you synthesized a wealth of trends and developments into concise news and thoughtful analysis that keeps members informed while preserving their limited time?

  • For example, many associations have launched weekly newsletters and digests designed to keep members current on the latest COVID-19 developments facing their industries and day-to-day work. If your association has done this, you can reiterate the value of member-only communication updates by delivering it in an accessible way to cut through the noise.

Develop new tools and content

What resources have you designed to empower members’ ability to work efficiently and effectively?

  • Many new programs have been created as a result of the federal response to the pandemic. Share with your members the ways you have ensured their ability to take full advantage of the programs meant to assist their industry. Highlight content that has been developed to address frequently asked questions. Cite relevant guidance from oversight organizations and provide templates for understanding how specific funds, whether from a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, the CARES Act or other programs, can be allocated and used.

Rethink how to facilitate the exchange of knowledge

How have you altered the dissemination of information and best practices through events and education?

  • Did you hold your first all-virtual Annual Conference this year? Underscore the number of participants in virtual sessions and consider promoting on-demand access to recorded content they may have missed or want to revisit.

Preserve and foster community

Have you implemented 24/7 opportunities for members to connect and collaborate online (and, in some cases, commiserate)?

  • With the transition to virtual work and the loss of in-person networking, engagement has increased on online platforms and communities. Demonstrate the benefit of connecting and collaborating online at members’ own pace, from their own location by sharing hot discussion topics and notable increases in traffic.

Advocate for members

In what ways have you stood up for your members at the local, state or federal level to secure funding and legislation that support them and their industry?

  • PPP and the CARES Act are two examples of legislation passed at the federal level designed to provide wide-spread economic relief. Did your association advocate for the inclusion of provisions directly impacting your industry? Let your members know the ways you stayed dedicated to your collective mission and their well-being.

Reframing your renewal messaging with an eye toward these areas will protect and advance your organization’s bottom line by making your value clear to members in the time of COVID-19.

Learn more about partnering with us to strengthen your story and effectively communicate your value.


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