June 28, 2016
Lapsed members are a centralized component of the member lifecycle. Every association deals with this conundrum - it’s simply inevitable. How does your association go about this issue? For many, they strive to “recapture” these members. Newsflash: These are people - not animals. It’s critical for association professionals to change their viewpoint on this. We need to shift away from recapturing - to reengaging. These members already know what it’s like to be a part of your organization, why should they stay? That’s for you to figure out.
Have you ever actually thought about this? As stated before, this is an inevitable issue that every association faces. Does your association simply handle the problem, or does it try to truly reconcile it? Members allow their memberships to lapse for many reasons.
At the end of the day, these members simply can live without your association. They tried to find value in your benefits, but they weren’t enough to keep them engaged. Maybe they value something that you don’t offer? Maybe their priorities or interests have changed? Either way, they feel as though they don’t need to be invested in your specific organization.
Member engagement is the association’s responsibility. It’s critical for association professionals to be mindful of what keeps members interested. If associations aren’t able to effectively keep members engaged - they are going to lapse. You can alleviate this by utilizing an AMS with strong reporting features that can track member engagement.
To maintain a specific level of retention, you need to make the renewal process seamless. If you’re making members fight to stick around - they won’t. Many associations don’t utilize modern technology to make this process a simple one. If your association has outdated practices, it could directly affect your retention rate. Manual processes can interfere with the renewal process. Auto-renewal should be a standard practice for associations.
If you think that you need to just recapture lapsed members, you’re doing it wrong. In order to effectively keep them around - you need to reengage them.
If your AMS values innovation, it will be able to provide you with the data you need to understand which members lapsed and why. With the right reporting, your staff will be able to get a better understanding of the issue at hand. If you can pinpoint a specific demographic that lapsed, you will be able to effectively target them. This is the time to internalize what you can do to make their experience better.
At this stage, it’s clear that you need to reach out to these members. You will need to implement a reengagement strategy to bring them back to life. There are many different tactics associations can use to get these members back:
One thing is for sure - each members is different. It’s important to utilize different forms of communication to connect with them. Direct mail is an old school method that may not be as efficient as an email reminder, but some members may prefer it. Personalize phone calls are a great way to show members that you care and miss them. By implementing a campaign to reconnect with these members, you may bring them back to life.
At the end of the day, you’re going to need to show members that you miss them. A great way to achieve this is to make your efforts as personal as possible. Whether it’s personalizing an email or giving them a direct phone calls - members want to feel the love. Make these initiatives as personalized as possible. This is your last ditch effort to reengage these members, make it count!
Marketing automation allows association staff members to remove the grunt work from their routine. By analyzing member data provided by your AMS, you can create an automated campaign to reengage these members. These strategies will give members a chance to reengage and rejoin your association.
Having a dip in memberships is an inevitable situation that all associations incur; however, there are various ways to resuscitate these members. The first order of business is understanding who lapsed and why. By obtaining valuable member data from your AMS, you can then implement a reengagement strategy to win them back.
To learn more about keeping members engaged, take a look at our blog, Don't Lose Your Best Members (A Lesson in Retention).