Top tips on how to retain members during challenging times

Member retention is so important, particularly at this time as a result of the pandemic affecting economies of countries around the world. 

However, the good news is that retention strategies are less expensive than any recruitment you will do. This is because you already have a captive, interested audience. High retention rates create satisfied members who are more likely to recommend the membership to others and recruiting others without much investment from the organisation.

One of the major motivations for many members to stay a part of an organisation is their positive experience of being part of a community. So, to successfully retain them, you need to meet or exceed their expectations of that experience which can be challenging in a new, hybrid working world.

If you only focus on recruitment, you may end up gaining members only for them to leave because the experience isn’t right or what they expected.

Having a consistent customer base and meaningful relationships between members, increases their sense of belonging and improves your members’ experiences, which in turn will improve your membership growth rate.

Here are some membership retention strategies that you could adopt now:

Demonstrate value through your purpose

Your mission statement most likely talks about providing the best services and advocacy to your members and not just recruiting as many people as possible. Now is a good time to work on and develop the purpose of your organisation so that it is clear to all members.

The best way to retain members is to understand why they joined in the first place and make sure the organisation is delivering on their expectations. The top two reasons why people want to become members of an organisation often are because they want to network with like-minded people and access specialised and/or current information. Are you delivering these services to your members consistently to provide them with a valuable experience? If not, start here. 

Track the reasons why members have joined your organisation by undertaking research. This could be as part of new member application forms or a survey of your current members to find out whether their needs have changed since they first came onboard. Use the research to find out whether the key benefits of being part of your organisation are still relevant to your members and known to them.

Our Membership Research page goes into more detail about the types of research services we provide to the membership organisations we serve.

Understanding members’ primary motivations for joining and then delivering on them is the most effective way to retain members, as you are fulfilling their purpose of joining the membership organisation.

Think about your most loyal members and how you are providing value to them, to ensure they stay, and replicate this approach for all your members.

Risk score members

It’s time to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to member management and retain members using a tailored approach that reflects their risk score.

Risk scoring looks at the probability that a member may take an action and the impact of that result if it happens. For example, losing an active, long-term member could be more impactful to the organisation than losing a brand-new member at the lowest membership level.

Different tactics should be devised for each level of risk to retain them. Examples include;

Optimise your renewal processes

The simpler and faster your renewal process is, the more effective it will be in retaining members and keeping them satisfied with their experience. 

Here are a few tips to help you optimise the process;


If you think your membership organisation could benefit from our expertise in membership research, membership retention training, financial modelling and proposition development, please contact us on 08459 555 155 or email