by Colleen Bottorff
With the end of the year comes renewal time for many member-based organizations. While this year’s dues renewal season may be a little different, it’s still important to ensure that your database is in tip-top shape and ready to process those renewals and everything that comes along with it.
Whether your organization is heading into its busiest time of the year now, or you know you’ll need some advice for when that time comes, here are a few things you should do each year to prep for renewal time in your membership management software, whether you’re using Atlas or Oasis:
Membership management software tip 1: Ask for updated contact info
Having all of the correct email addresses and phone numbers for all of the members is important in general, but it’s key to having a successful renewal period. Before you start (or at least, toward the beginning of) your renewal process, make sure to contact members in a few different spots — email, direct mail, during meetings — with reminders to update their contact information so that your membership management software is up to date. This is also a good opportunity to make sure that home addresses are in each profile if members are still working from home.
If that means directing them to their members-only portal, all the better! Encourage them to go ahead and make their dues payment while they’re in there, too. (Two birds, one stone.)
Membership management software tip 2: Review your automated emails
Take a moment to review your dues reminder email templates — and even post-payment “thank you” emails — for clarity and accuracy. Yes, the whole point of setting up these emails in the first place is to cut down on the amount of work you have to do around renewal time. But taking an hour to go over what you wrote a year ago is never a bad idea.
As you review, keep these three things in mind:
- See if there’s room to liven up the copy (getting the same thing year after year would be monotonous)
- Make sure all of the details and dates are all still correct
- Add any additional notices, reminders, or promotions that are currently relevant
And, this year especially, you may want to take this as an opportunity to remind members of any grace period options.
Membership management software tip 3: Use data to demonstrate value
There are all kinds of ways your organization can (and should) demonstrate the value of membership to its members throughout the year, but when it comes to renewal time, you’ll want to quantify that value and directly show them the return on their dues investment.
How? If you’ve never sat down and assigned a monetary value to each member benefit, you should. Some are easier to assign than others — for example, complimentary event registration benefits could be quantified by what they would’ve paid — but, for those benefits that don’t already have a direct cost, you can usually come to a consensus based on what it costs you to provide it, and how valuable it is to your members.
From there, you could take a couple of approaches:
- Show members the ROI of their dues payment by digging into their engagement with your organization, and putting those monetary values to the benefits they’ve taken advantage of.
- Use overall organizational engagement data, like event registrations and renewals, to show members the value their peers are seeing.
Spending just a little bit of time in your database and pulling reports will give your team some powerful numbers to reference when talking to members during renewal time!
Membership management software tip 4: Promote automatic options
Since you’re already going to be having a financial conversation with your members, now is a good time to remind them of the benefits of automatic dues payments. (If you make a concerted effort each year to push more members to set up their recurring payments, renewal time will be that much easier!)
That messaging could come into play in those email templates, or separately in your newsletter, at meetings, one-on-one phone calls, etc. The point is, this is one thing within your membership management software that you WANT members to adopt.