• Nonprofit Learning Lab

8 Ways to Help Retain Your Nonprofit's Membership

Updated: Oct 19

So you have your membership program up and running. New members are signing up on a regular basis, and your current members are engaged and spreading the word about your organization. Great! Have you considered how you will retain these members? Membership retention is an ongoing topic of discussion among nonprofit organizations and doesn’t have an easy, one-size-fits-all solution. You may find it helpful to have options to choose from as you explore this topic, so we have compiled the following list of 8 ways to help retain your nonprofit’s membership.


1. Provide Membership Tiers


As we all know in the nonprofit world, budgets differ from organization to organization. What one organization can easily afford might be out of reach for a different organization. Give your members options so that if they refer a friend who has a smaller budget or if an organization’s budget grows from one year to another, they can select a different membership tier with more or fewer member benefits.


2. Highlight Your Members and Their Organizations


Make your members feel special! Spotlight them and their organizations on your social media or even reserve a spot on your website for a member spotlight. Create a schedule for this so you stay consistent and highlight as many members as possible.

3. Regularly Engage with Your Members


To stay involved with your organization, members need to be kept in the loop about all of the great things you are doing. Send email blasts describing your upcoming events, post about your next fundraiser on social media, and regularly check in with members to ask how you can improve their member experience. Just ensure you avoid crossing the line into spam territory; your communications should be relevant and purposeful and provide value.


4. Listen to Concerns and Address Them


Is your website tough to navigate? Listen to your members’ feedback and update your website accordingly. Do you get regular emails about passwords not working or registration forms being hard to fill out? Research new platforms that could make those processes easier. Your members are a valuable source of information. Utilize their suggestions!

5. Offer Promotions


We all love a good discount, right? Find opportunities to offer promotions that will encourage members to stay with your organization. Send a 10% off discount code to members whose accounts are expiring soon, or offer expired members $25 off their next membership package if they renew within the next two weeks. Look for promotional opportunities that align with your organization’s mission AND provide value for your members.


6. Get Personal


Yes, emails are an important part of member engagement. But how often do you sit down and have a real conversation with your members? If the answer is rarely or never, you might want to re-examine this aspect of your customer service. We all know how great it feels to make a connection with someone and feel like they actually care about us, so make that happen for your members! Use a scheduling platform to make it easy for members to schedule membership inquiry calls, new member meetings, or just general check-ins. Then, make sure your members know these opportunities exist. Making a personal connection with someone can make a big difference in that person’s decision to renew their membership or let it expire.

7. Provide Networking Opportunities


One of the values of an organizational membership is having the opportunity to build professional relationships with people in your industry. Host in-person or virtual events to allow your members to talk with and get to know your team and one another. These events can be hosted by your team or a guest speaker and can vary on the formality spectrum from suit and tie to more casual. Find what works best for your organization and members. Virtual happy hour, anyone?

Looking improve your training and facilitation skills? Check out our Train the Trainer Workshop: Design, Engage and Inclusion here!


8. Schedule Your Membership Engagement


Maybe after reading this list, you have found a few items you could implement within your organization to better your membership retention rate. That’s fantastic! But unless you hold yourself accountable for being consistent with your efforts, it won’t be as impactful. Create a schedule or a task list detailing the items you want to implement, then decide how often the task will happen, who will be responsible for it, and how you will stay on top of doing it. Maybe that takes the form of a Google Calendar, a spreadsheet, or an old-fashioned checklist. Whatever it is, make sure you stay consistent.


We hope this list is helpful as you explore ways to improve your membership retention! If you want to learn more about nonprofit management and hear great advice from experts in the nonprofit sector, check out our upcoming online trainings page.


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