How to Boost Association Member Retention: The Database Solution

Learning how to boost Association Member retention is a big concern for organization leaders.

The logic goes like this: Members will stay if their expectations about being a Member are being met. Yet, do leaders truly know what Members expect and want? 

Faith in the Value Proposition

Associations offer a value proposition to Members that says, “If you join, you’ll receive these valuable benefits.” Members join the Association in an act of faith, expecting that they will receive the promised value. 

So, now that they appear on the Membership rolls, how does an Association know Members’ expectations are being met? This information is crucial to know as soon as possible. Not knowing soon enough could mean some Members leave the organization before leaders have a clue that expectations were not being met.

What are some ways leaders achieve the goal of learning how to boost Association Member retention?

Creating a Solid Member Database

All Members should be logged in the Association’s Member database. At the most basic level, this might be a spreadsheet with the name and contact information for each Member. Of course, there is only so much that can be done with a spreadsheet. Aside from lack of capability, spreadsheets are prone to human errors.

To rise above these deficiencies, even smaller Associations should consider database software that offers features including:

Data entry with input controls that promote data quality. For example, certain information is required and consistent data formats are enforced.

Search mechanisms that allow single or multiple Member records to be found easily.

Security protections to allow only authorized people to see and/or change data. This can help avoid liability problems arising from data breaches.

Filtering and reporting tools to help Associations analyze Member data.

Leveraging the Member Database

Once the database is established, it can be leveraged in the effort in improving Association Member retention in many ways:

Member Communications –  Emails campaigns provide a powerful communication tool to keep Members up-to-date on information about the Association.

Feedback Loops – The database provides the data for outbound Member surveys and inbound data from completed surveys can be stored there as well. Feedback results can guide Association leaders in making decisions that enhance Member satisfaction in the effort to boost Association Member retention.

Event Support – Event organization can be streamlined via the use of a well-maintained Member base. Invitations and event promotion information can be targeted to the right people to maximize registration potential. Member event attendance can be analyzed also in the drive to improve event quality.

Dues Administration – A key tool in supporting Association Member retention is efficient dues administration. Timely reminders and other targeted communications can help keep member dues flowing in year-after-year.   

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