More passive marketing tools, including
paid search advertising, online ads and
social networking, were ranked as effective by less than 1 percent of respondents.
• Discounting first-year dues is the most
effective membership recruitment incentive. Based on their renewal rates, associations’ most successful recruitment
offers involve first-year dues discounts,
which also stimulate future renewals, as
75 percent of associations offering new-member dues discounts have renewal
rates of more than 80 percent.
• A highly personal approach to new
member on-boarding might help retain
new members. Of associations’ top 10
most cited “on-boarding” techniques for
new members — mailed welcome kits,
e-mail welcomes, membership cards,
volunteer or staff welcome calls, invitations to chapter meetings, new-member
surveys, in-person new-member receptions, special discounts on purchases,
custom new-member e-mail follow-ups
and new-member newsletters — those
that are considered “high touch,”
including volunteer welcome calls and
new-member receptions, correlate with
higher renewal rates.
• Continuing renewal contacts and services may improve renewal rates.
When it comes to their renewal process,
associations that “don’t stop contact”
with expiring members are 83 percent
more likely to have renewal rates of
more than 80 percent than associations that stop contact early. Similarly,
associations with longer grace periods
are more likely to have higher renewals
than those with short grace periods; in
fact, groups that grace member benefits
three or more months are nearly three
times more likely to have renewal rates
of more than 80 percent.
The Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey consisted of 37 questions, the
answers to which are summarized in a free
40-page report that’s available at www.
Most association executives agree: Training and education are key. What they’re
less likely to agree on, however, is what
type of training and education. To help
them identify their education priorities,
the Washington, D.C.-based Center for
Nonprofit Advancement recently asked
executives from 91 D.C.-area organizations
about their most pressing training needs.
According to the Center’s 2009 Training & Education Needs Assessment Survey
Report, nonprofits indicate they’re most
in need of training and education in: fund
development, governance and public relations/marketing.
Based on self assessments — respondents were asked to rate the strength of their
organization in several areas, the weakest
ratings representing the greatest training
needs — nonprofits are especially hungry for
training on the following activities:
• Developing policies that address legal
and ethical matters in fundraising (64
• Foundation and corporate relations (62
• Major gift campaigns (51 percent)
• Assessing board performance and providing board training and development
• Succession planning for board membership and board leadership (53 percent)
• Effective and efficient board organization ( 37 percent)
• Evaluating the effectiveness of marketing efforts (63 percent)
• Creating a written marketing plan (57
• Marketing via social networks (54