Here’s a little secret from membership-savvy associations: While new- member acquisition offers the thrill of the chase, member retention brings long-term stability. It’s built on engagement, value, and connection, and it starts the day a member joins.
Before 2014, when Kerri McGovern looked at the American Chiropractic Association’s membership numbers, she saw churn. “We recruit very well,” she says. “But every month we would drop almost that same amount, because we weren’t getting them to renew.” It’s a cycle many associations know well but, for one reason or another, don’t try hard enough to break.
“I showed one board that I’ve been working with recently that they lost, over a 10-year period, 9,000 members,” says Bill Schankel, CAE, account executive at Association Headquarters. “And every meeting they were focused on new membership campaigns, new membership campaigns. We finally did a 10-year analysis and said, hey, you don’t have an issue with bringing new members in. You have an issue with keeping your old members.”