Posted by Halle Asterbadi on Aug 22, 2019
We continue to try and recruit new members and grow our associations as well as face as the ongoing challenge of engaging current members. Whereas recruiting new members is important to the development of the club, how important is it to retain current members?
A common thought process among association executives is that if we are not attracting new members, then eventually, our association will cease to exist. Although growing the group is important, it is equally as vital to maintain your current membership and foster the relationship between the association and its members, as they are a great resource to stimulate the growth of the organization. In the ongoing debate about recruitment vs. retention, we side with retention.
  • A low retention rate signals the presence of underlying problems in your organization. When you fail to maintain their member count continuously, membership committee members need to get involved and analyze the causes. Whether this mean speaking with the ex-members directly or starting a conversation on your community, getting to the root of the issue is vital. If current members continue to leave, the dynamics in your association will not attract potential members and as such they won’t see any value in joining. Simply put, if you are unable to retain your current members then what guarantee is there that you will be able to recruit new members and have them stay.
  • If you can get retention right then you can build the foundation to recruit new members upon. When you have a high retention rate, you can be sure that you must be doing something right to have so many satisfied and content members. Satisfied members are more than happy to mentor new members and share the associations' success stories with others and are proud to be evangelists. Their attitude creates a positive atmosphere, which is appealing and welcoming and as such, recruiting new members actually becomes easier. Take advantage of a good retention rate and build that into your recruiting strategy by involving all members in the membership process.  
  • Finally, when an association fails to retain its members, it eventually begins to suffer financially as the revenue collected gets affected. Membership dues and event registration fees begin to decrease. With an already unstable account, the group then has very limited funds to administer their marketing activities in order to recruit new members.
Whereas the ongoing debate as to which is more important continues, we believe that retention is vital to an associations’ success, and without a solid retention strategy in place, any recruitment efforts will get wasted.