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Why Members Join & Why They Renew

Dave Will
May 3, 2024

Why do your members join?

I'm surprised at how often I hear "discounts." It's pretty much tied with "content and resources."

One client told me that a member who chose not to renew said they could get all the information they wanted in Google or YouTube. This led to an interesting conversation about the value an association brings to the market.

The same client sent me a recording of a conversation with a handful of long time members and here are some of the key phrases I heard them say:

"this is where the important people are..."
"I wanted to join the club..."
"my peers are my family..."
"network of people..."

and then the lifetime member spoke up and said, "We joined for the learning, but stayed for the people."

It's brilliant.

Loyalty goes hand in hand with relationships. Humans are inherently social beings and we get very attached to people (and dogs). Yet, when we talk about member benefits, we still talk about the discounts and content... :(

I propose that we woo people in with great educational content (maybe some discounts) and access to some of the best names and faces in the industry you represent, but over the course of the first year let's focus heavily on creating stronger relationships. Let's help them get connected with other members, with the staff, with mentors and mentees. Let's get them volunteering and interacting with their peers.

The starting point is the new member onboarding campaign. The first year is the best time to learn about your members and provide them with relevant opportunities to get more involved...

...because the reason they renew is the people.

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