Nonprofit Membership: Best Practices That Boost Retention

Nonprofit Membership: Best Practices That Boost Retention 
Member retention is so important to the sustainability of your organization. You spend so much time finding and onboarding new members that it's critical you also invest in keeping them long-term. In fact, some studies show that an annual 10% increase in retention can increase the lifetime value of your current donor base by 200%!

So, in addition to finding new members, we suggest implementing strategies that promote membership renewal and retention. Not only does it mean happier, long-term donors, but it can also generate more sustainable funding for your organization. 

1) Have a Strong Onboarding Plan 

Engaged members are far more likely to return, so having an onboarding plan is a no-brainer for membership retention. This includes finding ways to interact and reward members. Active members are the ones who will stay around the longest, so taking the time to fine-tune your onboarding program is vital to your retention strategy. 

With software like Driven, this can be super simple. You can automate the process, segment associates and use your data to gather insights on connecting with your members. The onboarding process should take your members on a journey that reassures them they are getting value from their decision. That could mean giving more information on your organization's history, sharing offers or benefits they can take advantage of or sending them a special offer or gift as a thank you, or signing up. You can use segments to separate members based on their interests and suggest opportunities that speak to them. 

Your onboarding process will be unique to your organization, but it's important you use tools that can support your vision and simplify your process. 

2) Make Renewal Easy! 

Your members will be more likely to renew if you make the process as easy as possible! The best way to do this is with automated renewals. 

Association management software will allow you to set up a recurring renewal within your form. So members just have to click a box when registering to have their membership automatically renewed every year and even have different options like bi-yearly or annually. This not only makes things easier, but members can choose a custom option that is most convenient for them. 

This not only saves time for your member but also for you! The software will do all the heavy lifting and automatically charge the payment method listed on the file. 

3) Use Surveys To Understand What You're Doing Right (And Wrong)

Sending out regular surveys is a great way to check-in with your members and understand and get an understanding of how satisfied members are with your program. You can schedule surveys annually or send them 3-6 months into a new membership to see how engaged they are. 

It's important to ask questions about how satisfied they are alongside their understanding of your organization. For example:

  • Do you feel your membership is priced fairly?
  • Are you familiar with our organization? 
  • How would you describe our organization to friends? 
  • Would you recommend this membership program to people passionate about our work/programs? 
  • How can we improve your experience with our organization?

It's also wise to have an exit survey to understand what went wrong. Think about improvements you can make to boost retention by looking for patterns with those leaving your program. 

4) Reward Longterm Members

It's essential to pay attention to your long-term members! Show them how much you appreciate their support by offering unique opportunities just for them. 

One way you can do this is by offering a discount for renewal. This could be for all members in their second year, offering a bundle when signing up for multiple years or having a loyalty program where they can get a discount or a special offer the longer they stay with you. 

Long-time members are so crucial to your organization that rewarding them for their time is the best way to show how thankful you are for their support. In addition to offering discounts, you can allow them certain benefits based on their tier. For example, feature them on social media or in your newsletter or let them to decide on things within your organization, like the theme of a big event. 

5) Focus on Engagement 

Create opportunities for your members to act on what they are passionate about! Some organizations like nonprofits offer more hands-on activities like rallies, meetings or volunteer opportunities. But a community-based program may require you to get more creative. 

You could offer exclusive access to programs, activities or classes that would allow your members to choose how they can get involved with your nonprofit. Having options will also allow members to create a customized experience as they get to choose how to use their benefits how they like. This way people feel like they are getting the maximum value from your program. 

If You're a Nonprofit, Talk About Your Member's Impact

If you are part of a nonprofit or working under a charitable status incorporate your cause into your membership program. Let members know how their yearly or monthly contributions are helping further your mission and report on your progress with their help. 

Demonstrating their impact on their membership will add value and help them feel a donor glow. You can even allow members to choose which campaign they will support and use that choice to shape your communication. Offer opportunities and activities that match the theme of their choice and create segments based on each campaign. 

One of the benefits to software like Driven is that both our association and donor management systems integrate with each other, which means you can easily keep track of donors and members in one powerful tool. This gives you a better understanding of how your members interact with your organization and build stronger long-term relationships. 


It's important to remember that retaining your members requires you to invest in your membership year-round, not just when it comes time to renew. Creating automated campaigns that touch base with your members multiple times throughout the year is an easy way to keep them engaged with your organization while also using your software to its full potential. 

We would love to talk with you if you are looking for a member management tool that will help you easily automate your member management process!

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By Trust Driven on Mar 4, 2022, 12:00 AM

Management & Leadership

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