6 Ways to Eliminate Financial Friction for Your Members September 24, 2019 | By Colleen Bottorff | Small Staff Chatter, finance

Thinking about your current payment process: how long does it take for a member to make a payment of any kind? (Whether it’s for dues, an event, content, etc.) What comes up along the way that could cause them to abandon paying altogether?

Collecting payment is a necessary evil for all organizations. After all, you need money in order to function! But that doesn’t make it any less of a barrier for your members. In fact, this is the one process out of all of them that should be as frictionless as possible for them.

To help, we put together six ideas for overcoming common payment barriers:

  1. Barrier: They can’t afford payment.
    Solution: Offer a discount.

    You definitely can’t do this in every situation…but really, earning some revenue is better than all of it walking out the door. You know your membership best: is there a certain segment that is traditionally hesitant to join because of cost? Perhaps you could introduce a lower-level member type, offer the first few months for free, or give some kind of “money-back guarantee.”

    And that’s just one scenario. A discount doesn’t have to be the typical “$X off” every time, so see where you have room to be flexible and get creative.
  2. Barrier: They prefer not to pay in the way you’re asking.
    Solution: Give them multiple payment options.

    Paying online with a credit card, sending in a check, using cash in person, and taking credit card information over the phone are all pretty common methods of payment. You might even explore how members (especially the younger ones) can make payments through popular apps like Venmo and Square Cash. The point is, offering multiple options allows your members to select what’s easiest for them, which will make the process much more appealing.
  3. Barrier: They don’t want to enter their information every single time.
    Solution: Let them keep their credit card information on file.

    Does your membership management software (or other system) allow members to save their credit card information for future payments? If so, it’s something you should DEFINITELY allow, and communicate HEAVILY to members who aren’t already taking advantage of it. (They don’t know what they don’t know.) This will eliminate all kinds of friction – and, bonus, cut down on the time you spend tracking down dues payments!
  4. Barrier: They are skeptical of what their money is being used for.
    Solution: Distribute your annual report (or something similar).

    Imagine how it could help breed trust and transparency between members and staff if they knew exactly what their dues payments were going toward. You may not be able to get too detailed, but even a simple pie chart or graph demonstrating what you put an emphasis on when it comes to the budget is a great way to demonstrate that you’re being responsible with the investment they’ve made in your organization
  5. Barrier: They don’t feel like they’re getting enough out of membership.
    Solution: Continue to add membership value.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure members getting enough value out of their membership to continue paying dues (and more). Adding more and more value – even in small increments throughout the year – will make it much easier for them to give you a big, whole-hearted “YES!” around renewal time.

    Tip: What’s valuable to one member isn’t necessarily valuable to another. If there isn’t a major benefit that everyone is asking for that you could introduce, think about ways you can add value to individual memberships from time to time.
  6. Barrier: They easily lose track of when payment is due.
    Solution: Set up automated reminders.

    Sometimes the biggest financial barrier is just remembering to submit a payment. That’s why it’s soooo important that you have automated messages (typically email) set up to send to your members when they have outstanding payments. If that’s not already a part of your retention and renewal process, it definitely should be!

Now that we’ve eliminated some financial friction for your members – let’s talk about your staff. Everyone on staff, regardless of their role, NEEDS to have a basic understanding of how funds flow through your organization – not to mention, through your software.

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