3 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Membership Renewal Rates


Organising membership renewals is an essential part of any club. If managed well, the overwhelming majority of your members will renew; if handled poorly, your membership numbers will nose dive faster than a fox trying to catch something hiding in the snow. 


 fox trying to catch something hiding in the snow


A nose dive in member numbers is unlikely to be anywhere near as adorable as that, so let’s talk about how to ensure your membership renewals go as smoothly as possible. 

1. Automate Your Membership Renewals 

Managing membership renewals can be a very time-consuming task, especially if you're still using manual methods. This may involve keeping track of members' details and expiration dates using Excel spreadsheets, sending out physical renewal reminder letters, and processing cash and check payments. These tasks can take a lot of time and effort, making membership renewals one of the most challenging aspects of running a club. 

I'm sure you already fully know all of this but check out the below table that breaks down the time and money involved in manually renewing memberships. This table breaks down the cost of manually renewing memberships for a club of 500. 


cost of manually renewing memberships for a club of 500


It's worth noting that I got the printing price from Officeworks. They charge $0.20 per black-and-white A4 print if you print less than 1,000 copies. Their price for the same quantity of colour copies is $0.75 each. So, the total cost may increase if you wish to print in colour. 

So, if it takes a club with 500 members, 172 hours of work and $1,940 in direct costs to renew their memberships, there must be a better way to manage renewals. The good news is, there is. 

Several different systems are available that allow your club to completely automate your membership renewal process. These systems are known as membership management systems, and they are designed to streamline and automate significant portions of your club's operations, including membership renewals.

How Do Automated Membership Renewals Work? 

As the club administrator, you can schedule membership renewal reminder emails to be sent a certain number of days before or after the renewal due date. These emails can be customised according to your preference and include optional "dynamic fields" to add a personal touch. 

Members will receive these emails automatically when their membership is due to expire, prompting them to renew their membership. They can conveniently renew their membership online through the club's website or the integrated mobile app. 

Once a member renews their membership, you and the member will receive a receipt of payment and renewal. The system will then log the renewal and reset their membership expiry date. 

It all happens digitally and without human intervention, so you can renew your members quickly and easily without all of the printing, posting, and standing in line at the bank of manual renewals. 

Your members' renewals will be a lot easier. They will just get an email reminding them to renew, and then they can pay online from their phones without even needing to pause Netflix. You can also send multiple emails reminding them to renew. Please note these follow-up emails will only go to those who haven't renewed; those members who have already renewed won’t be harassed with multiple emails telling them to do something they’ve already done. Easier membership renewals mean that it takes less effort for your members to renew, making them more likely to do so. 

2. Rolling Vs Fixed Renewals

Rolling or fixed membership renewals is the question we will try to answer here. Both types of renewals have advantages and disadvantages, and both will be better suited to different clubs. 

Rolling membership renewals occur when each member's membership expires exactly 12 months (or another length of membership term) after the last renewal. It works like your driver's licence: You renew your licence for a certain period, and it expires exactly that many years later. 

Fixed memberships are when all of your club's memberships expire at the same time. No matter when a member signs up during a year, their membership will expire at the same time as everyone else's. This is much more like how tax returns work, with many clubs having a renewal season. 

Okay, both these types of memberships have their pros and cons, so let's get into it. 

Fixed Renewals

Fixed renewals are really good for seasonal clubs, clubs whose activities only take place at certain times of the year, e.g., sports clubs, ski clubs, cricket clubs, you get the picture. They are also good for some licensed clubs that just want all their members to sign up at the beginning of the year for that year's membership. 

Fixed renewals are also more practical for clubs that are still doing manual membership renewals. Manual membership renewals, and there's no other way to say this, suck. So, if you are still doing manual renewals, it makes sense to only put yourself and your club through that mess once a year. Just designate a month or two a year to get all renewals done and out of the way. 

Of course, having fixed memberships can be a little impractical for members who find and want to join your club halfway through a membership period. This can lead to fewer sign-ups, fewer membership renewals and a potential loss in profits. 

However, the potential drawbacks of fixed membership renewals can be counteracted. One way many clubs and the Member Jungle system help make fixed-date renewals more practical for members is to give members who sign up close to the fixed date a few days or months free.. For example, if you set the system leeway days to 60 and a member signs up 59 days before the fixed date, you can get 59 days free and 12 months of membership. This in the end does mean you are missing out on potential income.

Rolling Renewals 

Rolling renewals are great for the majority of clubs because they allow people to sign up whenever they want to, so there is no need to try and sort out different rules for different people. They also ensure there is always cash flowing into your club. With fixed memberships, you get one big lump of funds at renewal time and then have to budget that out for the year, while with rolling memberships, that money is more evenly spaced throughout the year.

Rolling memberships can be inconvenient if you are still doing manual membership renewals. Enabling members to renew or sign up at any time is only really a good thing if that renewal and sign-up process is quick and easy for you. 

Overall, fixed renewals can be inflexible and complicated but work well for seasonal clubs and those with manual renewals. Rolling renewals are practical, member friendly and provide more consistent cash flow but kind of require an automated renewal process. 

What's going to work best for your club is really going to be up to how you feel and how your club stacks up to the above factors. 

3. Offer Exclusive Member Benefits

So you’ve automated your renewal process and switched over to rolling renewals, meaning that your club’s renewals are now easier and more convenient than ever before. Now, let’s look at a few more ways you can add value to your membership to help ensure more members renew. 

Offer Renewal Discounts

One super effective way to encourage more members to renew their memberships is to offer renewal discounts. Let’s say your membership usually costs $50 a year. Why not offer it for $40 for renewing members? Ensure this price is only available for members who renew their memberships before their expiry date. You’ve got yourself a great incentive for members to renew as soon as that first renewal notification comes through rather than waiting until they expire. 

If you use a membership management system, you can charge different prices for new members vs renewing members so it isn’t even extra work for your admin team. 

Offer Member Benefits 

Another way to help ensure your members are renewing their memberships is to offer enough benefits and bonuses to your membership that your members will never want to leave. 

These can include discounts in your club (products, renewals, event tickets, etc.), discounts at sponsors' stores, access to exclusive member-only content within your club, and more. By adding a bunch of extra quality and perks to your clubs that only members can take full advantage of, you are adding extra incentives for your members to renew their membership, as the advantages of your club go way beyond a few events. 

Here is a quick overview of some of the member-only benefits you can add to your club to encourage higher renewal rates: 

  • How-to Guides:
    Access to comprehensive how-to guides on various topics relevant to the club's theme or purpose. For example, a gardening club could offer guides on planting techniques, soil preparation, and pest control.
  • Resource Libraries:
    Member-only access to a library of resources, such as articles, whitepapers, e-books, and research studies, covering topics of interest to the club's members.
  • Templates and Tools:
    Templates, tools, and downloadable resources to help members with tasks related to the club's theme. For example, a business club could offer business plans, marketing strategies, or financial projections templates
  • Training Courses:
    Online training courses or workshops on relevant skills or topics. Depending on the club's focus, these could range from professional development courses to hobby-related tutorials
  • Interactive Webinars:
    Member-exclusive webinars feature guest speakers, interactive discussions, and Q&A sessions on various subjects of interest. Members can participate in real-time or access recordings later.
  • Community Forums or Discussion Boards:
    Private online forums or discussion boards where members can connect, share ideas, ask questions, and talk with like-minded individuals.
  • Business Directories:
    A searchable directory of all members, sponsors, and their related businesses can prove a valuable tool for members who have access. 

Adding just a few of these, coupled with the earlier points we’ve discussed, can go a very long way in greatly increasing your club’s membership renewal rate. 

How To Start Improving Your Membership Renewal Rates Today?

You can start improving your membership renewal rates today in a few ways. First, start looking into what discounts and benefits you can offer your members to encourage them to renew. Second, start looking into membership management systems that can help you automate your renewals and consider whether rolling or fixed renewals would be best for your club. 

If you are looking to learn more about membership management systems, have a look at either: What Is Membership Management Software For Nonprofits? - All Your Questions Answered


What is Membership Management Software


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