It is essential that your association offers online membership renewal. Handling renewals by paper is time consuming for both your staff and members – not to mention unfriendly for the environment.
As the summer draws to a close, our minds turn to the months ahead and the end-of-year tasks that need to be taken care of for our association clients. Most importantly, we’re planning for the upcoming renewal season for those clients whose membership runs with the calendar year. Our operations department handles renewal reminders and processing for a number of associations, and we’ve seen it all when it comes to the pitfalls that can prevent members from deciding to renew.
Our experience has helped us to develop tricks and tools that ensure the renewal process is an easy one for association members. By adopting these practices, you can achieve higher member retention rates than ever.
Automated Membership Renewal Reminders
If your membership runs with the calendar year, you likely send out email reminders throughout November and December letting members know that it is time to renew. But it can be trickier when you have a rolling membership – manually checking expiration dates and sending out emails or letters takes up a large amount of time and resources. In our experience, the best solution is to use a system that will automatically notify members that their expiration date is approaching.
Using association management software solutions such as Dash, you have the option of integrating your email software with your database so that an automated message containing a renewal link is sent out to members. You can choose when this happens – a month before expiration, a few days before expiration, or even in the weeks after expiration during a grace period. With this process taken care of automatically, your staff can be confident that nobody’s membership will expire without them knowing about it.
Giving members a reminder ahead of time also gives them more time to prepare for renewal, whether this involves earning the number of CE credits required or simply factoring dues into their budget. They will certainly thank you for notifying them in advance!
Fast Online Renewal Processing and Receipts
It is essential that your association offers online membership renewal. Handling renewals by paper is time consuming for both your staff and members – not to mention unfriendly for the environment. Members will be more likely to renew if they can do so using either their laptop or mobile device.
During renewal season, make sure that a renewal button and link is placed in a prominent spot on your homepage. Your system should retain member’s contact details so that they do not need to re-enter these when renewing. Even better, your system should give members the option of keeping their credit card details on file so that they can renew every year without having to re-enter their information.
If your members are required to have insurance for membership (eg malpractice insurance), consider integrating your association website with the insurance provider website. For example, members of our client BCAK are required to have insurance before renewing. Dash gives them the option of either uploading their confirmation of insurance when renewing, or simply clicking straight through to the insurance provider’s website to complete their insurance purchase. The system then recognizes when the insurance purchase is complete and brings the member back to the BCAK website to finalize their renewal.
Automated Membership Certificates
Your members may need proof of membership for their employer or other third parties. Rather than issue certificates manually, use a system that automatically sends out a membership certificate email along with the renewal receipt. With systems such as Dash, you can store an electronic copy of the certificate in the member’s online profile so that they can locate it and download as a PDF at any time – no need for them to contact your office.
Accept Cheque Payments Online
Allowing members to pay for renewal via cheque shouldn’t mean a lot of extra work for your office. With Dash, members have the option of selecting ‘Pay by cheque’ when renewing. This generates an invoice number and email in the same manner as if they were paying by card. The outstanding invoice will display in your financial reports until the cheque is received, at which time your staff can mark the invoice as ‘paid’, renewal is complete and an email receipt is automatically issued. The more that you handle online, the better for both you and your members!
Online CE Tracking
If members are required to complete CE credits before renewing, an online CE tracker on your website will allow them to keep track of their credits. The system will also prevent them from renewing if they have not completed the appropriate number of credits. Find out more about online CE tracking in our previous blog post.
About the Author
Holly McCluskey is the Communications and Marketing Manager at Dashboard. Dashboard is a 360 degree, customizable association management software solution. We don’t just build Dash—our operations staff use it every single day to manage the operations of 17 non-profit associations. Explore our site to find out more.