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Mgi benchmarking report_2010

  1. 1. 2 0 1 0MEMBERSHIP M ARKETING BENCHMARKING REPORT RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY: Marketing General Inc. UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF: Adina Wasserman, PhD, Director of Research, and Tony Rossell, Senior Vice President
  2. 2. 2 0 1 0 MEMBERSHIP M ARKETING BENCHMARKING REPORT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The 2010 Membership Marketing Benchmarking The comparison of practices and Report marks the second year that Marketing outcomes in membership provides General Inc. (MGI) has surveyed associations to strong directional information on better understand the strategies and tactics they use to recruit members, engage new members, what tactics and strategies might be renew existing members and reinstate former added or dropped to help improve members. a membership program. Over 400 associations participated in the survey However, there is an important disclaimer that and shared their membership practices and their one should be aware of as a result of this report. opinions on what works best for each stage of the Because an activity or practice has a statistical2 membership lifecycle. The report includes data correlation with a growing or declining on what social media are used by associations, membership or better renewal rates, we are not how prospective members find out about the claiming that any one behavior in and of itself association, what acquisition marketing channels causes this outcome. There are literally and offers are used, and how many renewal thousands of variables that impact membership contacts are sent out. results. Besides cataloging membership practices, this Nevertheless, if as a marketer one sees that Benchmarking Report also takes these practices organizations with certain behaviors or practices and cross-tabulates them with the membership tend to be doing better, one at least will want to results that associations are experiencing. Are explore the issue and see if there is something new member counts up or down? Are renewal that can be applied to another organization. rates above or below average? Has membership grown in the past year? How about in the past The report includes dozens of key findings that five years? can provide insights and direction for membership marketing programs. Here are some highlights of the key trends that came out of this year’s research.
  3. 3. MEMBERSHIP GROWTH TRENDSOne benefit of conducting the Membership Clearly, when renewal rates are down and newMarketing Benchmarking research for a second member input is declining, it will come as noyear is the opportunity to measure trends. surprise that total membership for associations is also reported to be down from 2009.The trend that jumps out more than any otherbetween the 2009 and 2010 study is how However, membership still shows a strongchallenging a year it has been to get and keep resiliency. This year, 57 percent of associationsmembers. Associations reported that they were reported that membership was up over the pasthaving trouble acquiring new members, renewing five years and 36 percent said that membershipthe members that they had and growing the numbers were up for the past year.overall membership count compared to last year. Percentage Change in Entire MembershipThe most significant drop-off for membership Over Past FIVE Yearsorganizations appears to be in renewals. In 2009, 2010 200931 percent of responding associations reported Percentage Increased Overall 57% 60%that renewal rates for their organization had Percentage Unchanged Overall 8% 8%decreased in the previous year. In 2010, 44percent of associations reported a decline in Percentage Declined Overall 30% 27%renewal rates. Percentage Change in Member RENEWALS Percentage Change in Entire Membership Over Past ONE Year Over Past ONE Year 2010 2009 2010 2009 Percentage Increased Overall 21% 22% Percentage Increased Overall 36% 45% Percentage Unchanged Overall 27% 39% Percentage Unchanged Overall 14% 16% Percentage Declined Overall 48% 35% 3 Percentage Declined Overall 44% 31%On the positive side, 62 percent of associationsreported that new member input in 2010 haseither increased or remained the same from theprevious year. But this is still lower than the 71percent of associations who reported this in 2009. Percentage Change in NEW Member Acquisition Over Past ONE Year 2010 2009 Percentage Increased Overall 42% 49% Percentage Unchanged Overall 20% 22% Percentage Declined Overall 26% 21%
  4. 4. TRADE ASSOCIATIONS COMPARED TO INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATIONS In our 2010 Membership Marketing When we cross-tabulated structure with our Benchmarking study, we asked respondents to membership growth question, we found that identify their association by what membership 43 percent of individual membership associations structure they operated under: trade or had experienced membership growth in the organizational, individual, or both. past year, but only 26 percent of trade associations saw growth. In a number of areas this provided useful data. In particular, it highlighted that trade associations have had a much tougher membership year than have individual membership associations. 58% 48% 43% 45% 35% 26% 16% 17%4 12% Increased Remained the Same Decreased Individual (N=215) Organizational/ Trade (N=112) Both (N=65)
  5. 5. MEMBERSHIP GROWTH STRATEGYIf membership is going down in an association, Then we cross-tabulated these answers withis there anything that the study showed can be reported membership growth rates overdone to turn around the trend? The answer is one year and five years to see which strategyyes, from what we found; it appears there are correlated with increased membership growth.numerous practices that can help to grow Interestingly, those organizations that placed amembership. priority on membership acquisition comparedOne of the most interesting is that membership to a retention strategy or a balanced strategygrowth may depend on what the membership directionally were more likely to experiencegoal is the association has targeted. growth in membership.In the study this year, we asked participants totell us their membership growth strategy. Weoffered three options:1. A greater priority on acquisition than retention.2. A greater priority on retention than acquisition.3. An equal priority on acquisition and retention. Percentage Change in Growth Based on Growth Goals One Year Change Five Year Change New Member Change Renewal Rate Change Priority Over 1% Over 11% Over 1% Over 11% Over 1% Over 11% Over 1% Over 11% Acquisition 38% 18% 60% 38% 51% 24% 24% 0% Retention 33% 4% 57% 27% 39% 7% 24% 3% 5 Equally on both 37% 9% 58% 34% 43% 16% 16% 3%
  6. 6. ASSOCIATIONS REPORT BROAD ARRAY OF ASSOCIATION GOALS We also sought to gain a better understanding increase net revenue. These goals can conflict of the overall goals for associations through our since typically membership growth requires research this year. re-investing net revenue in marketing. It is very hard to increase volume and profits at the The goal question arose out of conversations same time. the author of the study has had with a number of associations over the past year where there The responses to the goal question suggest seems to be a lack of clarity in what the that indeed there is remarkably little consensus association is attempting to accomplish. In fact, among associations on strategic goals. stated association goals are often in conflict with Here is a breakdown on how respondents each other. An association may set a goal to ranked various association goals. significantly grow membership and also to Ranked Percentages On Definitions Of Association Success Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Growth in member counts 22% 17% 20% 9% 6% 7% 6% 4% 4% 3% 2% Growth in revenue 21% 16% 10% 10% 6% 7% 7% 5% 7% 7% 4% Growth in net revenue 21% 16% 11% 8% 6% 6% 6% 8% 8% 6% 3% Growth in participation 6% 7% 6% 15% 13% 11% 13% 12% 10% 7% 2%6 Growth in attendance 4% 7% 9% 15% 17% 15% 11% 9% 4% 8% 2% Increase in new members 4% 10% 13% 16% 16% 15% 10% 8% 6% 2% 1% Increase in renewal rates 3% 7% 13% 13% 18% 13% 15% 7% 6% 4% 1% Increase in organization visibility 5% 6% 11% 10% 8% 10% 15% 19% 11% 4% 2 Increase in visibility for industry 6% 9% 7% 6% 7% 6% 8% 15% 21% 14% 3% Increase in advocacy 10% 8% 4% 4% 5% 6% 5% 10% 14% 25% 9% effectiveness Other 19% 2% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 0% 4% 3% 70%
  7. 7. THE VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS OF SOCIAL MEDIAOne apparent change that has come about as a On a final note, we of course had to add socialresult of the challenges faced by membership media questions to this year’s survey.organizations is an increased focus on the value Not surprisingly, only 8 percent of respondentsof membership. said that their association does not use anyOur 2010 Membership Marketing Benchmarking officially-sponsored social media. So the spreadSurvey confirms the heightened concern around of social media into associations is nearlythis issue. complete.For a second year, we asked association What was more interesting was the rankingsexecutives what was the top reason that their respondents gave various social mediamembers did not renew. Last year the answers applications. When asked to rank the socialfocused on cost with the top two reasons given as media that was most effective in helping their“the employer would not pay for membership” or association achieve their membership goalsthe membership was “too expensive.” the highest-rated applications were Association Listservs and Association Private Social Networks.However, for 2010, the top reason given for non- This in spite of the fact that the most widelyrenewal was a “lack of value.” A total of 36 used social media were reported as Facebook,percent of respondents cited value as the key Twitter and LinkedIn.issue, an 80% leap over last year. Comparison of 2010 to 2009 Reported Reason for Non-RenewalTOP Reason for Reported in Reported inMember Non-Renewal 2010 2009 7Lack of Value 36% 20%Employer Won’t Pay 25% 22%Dues WE WANT TO THANK the 407 associationsToo Expensive 11% 22% that took the time to participate in theForgot Renewal 6% 11% 2010 Membership Marketing BenchmarkingLost Job 4% 3% research. You have provided your associationRetirement 4% 4% colleagues with valuable data that will help all MGI 2010 Membership Benchmarking Survey Results of us better serve members and prospective members, and do our jobs more effectively.Is there any good news in this change of There is an ancient proverb that describesperspective? We think so. When we believe the impact of our sharing so well. It says,members lapse because dues are too expensive,it does not leave much room for fixing the "Without counsel plans fail, but with manyproblem. However, if we think members leave advisers they succeed."for value issues, we can do research and memberinterviews to better understand what they arelooking to receive and make changes tocommunications or the products themselves toenhance the value.Asking how we can deliver more value to ourmembers is a very productive question when weput actions behind it to discover the answer.
  8. 8. INTRODUCTION SURVEY OBJECTIVE What is the margin of error? Since it is virtually impossible to survey all association executives, The 2010 Membership Marketing Benchmarking statisticians rely on a random sample of Report is the second annual edition of this individuals from the “universe” of association tracking study. The original survey was executives to estimate what the results of the conducted in March and April, 2009. The purpose entire specified population would be. The results of this follow-up study is to gain perspective on from the randomly-generated sample can be the tactics and strategies that organizations use seen as a “snapshot” of the universe. The margin to recruit new members, renew existing members of error, or standard error, is a statistical term and reinstate former members, and to used to measure the random fluctuations inherent understand which tactics and strategies in samples. The smaller the standard error, the association executives perceive as the most more accurate the measurement of the effective in reaching their goals. Some questions population, or universe. from the previous study were removed for 2010, and some new questions were added to This study’s significance level of .05 carries with this study. it a 95% confidence interval, meaning that if this study were conducted 100 times, the same results, plus or minus the margin of error (in METHODOLOGY this case 5%), would occur 95 out of 100 times. The confidence interval is established as the The Second Annual Membership Marketing likelihood that the same results would be Benchmarking Study was conducted online and achieved and that it would not be due to was launched on February 12, 2010. It was left chance or random fluctuations. open to respondents through March 8, 2010.8 Email invitations were sent to approximately 3,250 association professionals. Additionally, a link was RESPONSE RATE set up on a blog site allowing people to access the survey without a formal invitation. More than As indicated above, email invitations were sent 400 association professionals responded to the to 3,250 association professionals, yielding survey providing data and information regarding responses from 312 individual association their membership marketing experiences. executives. A link was also set up on a blog website allowing people access to the survey To ensure that each association’s responses were who did not receive an email invitation. This calculated only once, we removed “duplicate” link provided another 117 respondents, bringing responses from an association. For instance, if the total to 429, and yielding a response rate more than one person from a single association of 13%. However, after removing the duplicate completed the survey, the responses of the association responses, findings from a net of individual most closely associated with the 407 respondents are included in this study. marketing aspect of the association were used. Twenty-two duplicate association respondents were removed from the final results of this study, leaving the total number of respondents for this study at 407, with a margin of error of approximately +/- 5%.
  9. 9. Which types of social media does your organizationofficially use? Facebook 75% Twitter 66% LinkedIn 59% YouTube 35% Association Listserv 31% Association Blog 30% Private Association Social Network 17% Wikis 13% Ning/Groupsite 6% MySpace 4% Second Life 3% No social media tools used 8% Other 6% 2010 (N=405) The top three social media Results also indicate that Associations offering individual tools used by associations associations using Facebook, memberships are significantly 9 include Facebook (75%), Twitter and/or their private more likely to use Facebook Twitter (66%) and LinkedIn association social networking compared to organizational/ (59%). After that, about one are significantly more likely to trade associations (81%: third of associations use have renewal rates under 80%. individual vs. 65%: YouTube (35%), their Furthermore, those using organizational/trade). association listserv (31%) LinkedIn are significantly more Scientific/engineering and/or their association blog likely to show a decrease in associations are more likely to (30%). their overall membership over use Facebook than other types the past year. Associations Approximately 8% of of associations. LinkedIn is using Twitter and/or YouTube associations do not use any predominantly used by are significantly more likely to social media tools. While this associations in building/ show declines in new members represents only a small construction, finance/ over the past year. percentage of associations, accounting and scientific/ findings indicate that of these Facebook is the most engineering industries. associations, those with a commonly used social media Twitter is most often used by renewal rate of 80% or higher outlet. Twitter, YouTube and/or associations in the education are significantly less likely to the association blog are most and building/construction use social media tools. often used by associations industries. with 5,000 members or more. Associations with fewer than 1,000 members are significantly less likely to use any social media outlets.
  10. 10. Of the social media outlets your organization uses, which two are most effective in achieving your membership goals? Most Effective Social Media Outlets in Reaching Membership Goals N % Rank 1 % Rank 2 Association Listserv 125 50% 14% Private association social network 70 39% 27% LinkedIn 242 33% 23% Facebook 307 30% 28% Association Blog 123 19% 16% Ning/Groupsite 23 13% 9% Twitter 267 10% 26% Wikis 55 9% 13% YouTube 141 6% 16% MySpace 15 0% 0% Second Life 10 0% 0% Other 25 24% 4% While Facebook, Twitter and Facebook is ranked most often Facebook is considered most LinkedIn are the most as the second most effective effective by associations10 commonly used social media social media tool, with 28% of offering individual tools, they are not necessarily the users ranking it second. memberships (33%), while considered the most effective However, for those who offer a LinkedIn is considered most in reaching membership goals private social network effective by by association executives. In experience within their organizational/trade fact, the most effective social member base, this private associations (31%) and those networking tools are network is ranked as second offering both organizational considered to be those that most effective for achieving and individual memberships are basically housed within the membership goals by 27% of (30%). association itself, namely the its users. association listserv (50%) and/or a private association social network (39%).
  11. 11. How often do you use the following special recruitmentincentives to acquire NEW members? Special Recruitment Incentives Never Not often Occasionally Frequently Very often Always (0%) (1%-20%) (21%-50%) (51%-80%) (81%-99%) (100%)Conference or convention 2010 24% 12% 11% 10% 13% 32%discount 2009 29% 11% 13% 9% 10% 28%Product discount, coupons 2010 41% 15% 15% 10% 7% 12%or vouchers 2009 44% 16% 17% 8% 6% 8%Member-referral incentives 2010 44% 18% 13% 8% 4% 14%(given to member) 2009 44% 23% 11% 8% 6% 9% 2010 50% 14% 13% 8% 7% 8%Dues discount for first year 2009 38% 11% 13% 7% 11% 20%Drawings or contests 2010 55% 22% 12% 5% 3% 2% 2009 52% 19% 18% 7% 3% 2%Free gifts or premiums 2010 57% 20% 11% 7% 4% 2% 2009 54% 16% 15% 10% 4% 3%Online registration discount 2010 65% 10% 8% 4% 4% 9% 2009 63% 8% 10% 7% 5% 8%Free trial 2010 68% 18% 6% 3% 2% 4% 2009 66% 18% 8% 4% 2% 2% 2010 69% 9% 6% 4% 3% 9%Multiple-year dues discount 2009 68% 8% 7% 2% 3% 12%No risk/dues back guarantee 2010 83% 6% 2% 1% 2% 6%(refundable dues) 2009 82% 8% 3% 1% 2% 5% 11 2010 78% 5% 5% 2% 2% 9%Other 2009 41% 14% 0% 17% 14% 14%No special offers 2010 55% 15% 7% 7% 10% 7% 2009 51% 16% 9% 6% 11% 6% A majority of associations use An increased number of Notably, of the associations conference or convention associations indicate they use that offer a first-year dues discounts, product discounts, conference or convention discount incentive, those with coupons or vouchers, and/or discounts very often or all the renewal rates of 80% or more member-referral incentives. time, compared to findings are significantly more likely to About one-half of the from the 2009 study (45% in offer it less often, only up to associations indicate they use 2010 vs. 38% in 2009). 20% of the time, suggesting new member dues discounts, that using this incentive too The percentage of a decline from the previous frequently may diminish its associations that use first-year study (50% in 2010 vs. 56% in value. dues discounts more than 80% 2009). of the time, the second most used incentive in 2009, has dropped by about one-half (15% in 2010 vs. 31% in 2009).
  12. 12. How do prospective members learn about or become aware of your organization? Member word-of-mouth recommendations 91% 77% Association website 88% 85% Email to prospects 67% 61% Co-worker/colleague recommendations 67% 54% 66% Direct mail to prospects 76% Promotion to/at your own conferences/conventions 66% 65% Cross-sell to non-members who buy your products or attend your 59% conferences 52% Advertising in your own publications 56% 51% Association-sponsored events 56% 37% Association-sponsored social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, 56% LinkedIn) 35% Exhibiting at other conferences 51% 53% Recommendations/ connections with other associations 50% 40%12 Search engines (organic) 47% 34% Chapters 46% 39% Public relations 39% 29% Employer recommendations 37% 30% 32% Faculty recommendations 35% Advertising in outside publications 31% 28% Job board 23% 23% Personal sales calls 22% 24% Accreditation promotion 20% 14% Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) 20% 8% Telemarketing to prospects 18% 18% Paid banners on other websites 13% 12% Radio or TV 5% 7% Other 3% 2010 (N=405) 3% 2009 (N=599) 0% Do not know 1%
  13. 13. Similar to the 2009 study, member word-of- Associations relying on paid banners, paidmouth recommendations (91%) and search engines, advertising in outsideassociation website (88%) are the two most publications, and/or their own chapters arecommon methods by which prospective significantly more likely to show renewal ratesmembers become aware of an association; less than 80%.however, the order is switched and member Association-sponsored events has shown notword-of-mouth takes the top spot this year and only to be increasing in its effectiveness forassociation website ranks as second. Both of creating association awareness, but is one ofthese methods have shown increases over the the few methods in which the associations thatprevious study. use it are more likely to show increases inAbout two-thirds of association executives overall membership after one year andindicate that prospective members become significant increases in membership after fiveaware of their association through email (67%), years. This is not surprising because anco-workers or colleagues (67%), direct mail association-sponsored event creates a positive,(66%) and/or promotion to/at your own proactive and socially-engaging impressionconference/convention (66%). Email upon the attendee.promotions and co-worker recommendations Aside from the top two channels from whichappear to be effective in generating prospective members learn of an association,association awareness, while direct mail and findings indicate that trade associations arepromotion to/at own conference seem to have significantly more likely to rely on personallost some effectiveness in building awareness sales calls and public relations. Associationsover the past year. offering individual memberships and thoseOther methods for generating association offering both individual and organizationalawareness that have gained momentum memberships are significantly more likely toinclude: rely on paid search engines, faculty, employer and/or co-worker recommendations and their 13 • Association-sponsored events chapters. Associations offering individual and (56% in 2010 vs. 37% in 2009) organizational memberships are significantly • Association-sponsored social more likely to also depend on organic search networking websites engines, promotion to/at their own (56% in 2010 vs. 35% in 2009) conferences and advertising in their own publications. • Recommendations/connections with other associations (50% in 2010 vs. 40% in 2009) • Search engines (organic) (47% in 2010 vs. 34% in 2009) • Chapters (46% in 2010 vs. 39% in 2009) • Public relations (39% in 2010 vs. 29% in 2009) • Employer recommendations (37% in 2010 vs. 30% in 2009) • Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) (20% in 2010 vs. 8% in 2009)
  14. 14. What are the two most effective membership recruitment marketing channels you have used? Most Effective Recruitment Channels N % Rank 1 % Rank 2 Member word-of-mouth recommendations 371 27% 19% Direct mail to prospects 268 27% 17% Personal sales calls 90 23% 16% Co-worker or colleague recommendations 270 13% 13% Promotion to/at your own conferences/conventions 266 11% 8% Email to prospects 272 10% 14% Chapters 188 10% 9% Association website 359 8% 11% Employer recommendations 150 8% 5% Telemarketing to prospects 73 7% 7% Cross-sell to non-members who buy your products or attend your 238 6% 12% conferences Faculty recommendations 128 6% 7% Accreditation promotion 82 6% 4% Exhibiting at other conferences 208 3% 5% Public relations 158 3% 3% Association-sponsored events 226 2% 8% Recommendations/connections with other associations 202 2% 5%14 Advertising in outside publications 128 2% 3% Search engines (organic) 192 1% 5% Advertising in your own publications 226 0% 1% Association-sponsored social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, 226 0% 0% LinkedIn) Job board 94 0% 0% Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) 80 0% 0% Paid banners on other websites 51 0% 0% Radio or TV 19 0% 0% Other 13 15% 0% Association professionals indicate These two channels are also that member word-of-mouth considered the second most recommendations and direct mail effective, indicating that where to prospects are the two most one was chosen as most effective, effective channels for membership the other was chosen as second marketing, with just over one- most effective. quarter of those who have used these channels indicating they are the most effective.
  15. 15. Most Effective Recruitment Channels Those Ranked Most Effective by Year 2010 2009 (N=395) (N=363) Member word-of-mouth recommendations 27% 32% Direct mail to prospects 27% 46% Personal sales calls 23% 11% Co-worker or colleague recommendations 13% 6% Promotion to/at your own conferences/conventions 11% 15% Email to prospects 10% 24% Chapters 10% 8%Compared to the 2009 findings, The perceived effectiveness of The perceived effectiveness ofmember word-of-mouth personal sales has jumped into co-workers or colleagues hasrecommendations and direct the top three, increasing from increased, more than doublingmail are still the top two most 11% in 2009 to 23% in 2010. its rating of being the mosteffective recruitment methods. effective recruitment channel Additionally, the perceivedHowever, perceptions as to the (13% in 2010 vs. 6% in 2009). effectiveness of email toeffectiveness of both of these prospects, which was in themarketing channels have top three in the previous study,declined. Perceived has declined from 24% in 2009effectiveness of word-of-mouth to 10% in 2010, a drop ofrecommendations has dropped almost 60%.from 32% to 27% and directmail has dropped from 46%to 27%. 15 Most Effective Recruitment Channels Those Ranked Most Effective by Organization Size Most Effective Second Most Effective Association Member Size (N=395) (N=392) Up to 1,000 Word of Mouth Email 1,001 to 5,000 Word of Mouth Direct Mail 5,001 to 20,000 Direct Mail Word of Mouth Over 20,000 Direct Mail Word of MouthFor smaller associations, word- For associations with over and/or member word-of-of-mouth marketing is the 5,000 members, direct mail is mouth (22%). Formost effective method of new considered the most effective organizational/trademember recruitment. It is channel for new member associations, as well as thoseranked as second most recruitment. offering both types ofeffective for associations with membership, the most For associations offeringmembers numbering over effective recruitment method individual memberships, the5,000. is member word-of-mouth most effective recruitment (27% each). channel is direct mail (22%)
  16. 16. What do you believe is the ONE TOP reason members JOIN your organization? Network with others in the field 24% 22% Access to specialized information 13% 23% Continuing education 11% 5% Advocacy 11% Not asked in 2009 Learn best practices in their profession 9% 8% Obtain discounts on products or meeting purchases 6% 9% Monthly publication(s) 6% 3% Accreditation 4% 2% Access to career resources 3%16 1% Advance their position 2% 4% Access to industry benchmark studies 1% Not asked in 2009 Not sure 2% Not asked in 2009 2010 (N=400) 9% Other 2009 (N=303) 10%
  17. 17. In the current study, about one-quarter of Obtaining discounts on products or meetingassociation executives feel that members are purchases is no longer one of the top threemost likely to join their organization to network reasons why respondents say members joinwith others in the field. their association, having dropped from 9% to 6%. Furthermore, findings indicate thatOnly 13% of respondents indicate that associations having less than 80% renewal ratesmembers join their association for access to and/or decreases in their renewal figures arespecialized information. This represents an significantly more likely to report that membersalmost 50% drop from the previous study (13% join specifically to obtain these 2010 vs. 23% in 2009). For associations in the healthcare industry,Just over one in ten association executives advocacy is more often considered the mainreport that members join their association for reason members join. Associations offeringthe continuing education (up from 5% in 2009 organizational/trade memberships areto 11% in 2010) or advocacy (also 11%). significantly more likely to report that advocacyAssociations with greater than 80% renewal is a main reason as well, compared torates and overall increases in membership over associations offering only individualthe past year are significantly more likely to memberships or both.indicate that their members join because ofthe advocacy aspect of the association. Associations offering individual memberships are significantly more inclined to indicate that continuing education and monthly publications are main drivers for joining, compared to associations offering other types of membership. 17
  18. 18. Which of the offers was most effective in recruiting the most members? Most Effective Offers for Recruiting New Members Most effective in getting Most effective in attracting the most members new members cost-effectively 2010 2009 2010 2009 Conference or convention discount 24% 17% 25% 21% Dues discount for first year 18% 25% 18% 11% Product discount, coupons or vouchers 11% 6% 11% 6% Member-referral incentives (given to member) 11% 8% 11% 8% Free trial 7% 9% 7% 4% Online registration discount 7% 4% 7% 3% Multiple-year dues discount 6% 4% 6% 3% Free gifts or premiums 5% 7% 5% 5% Drawings or contests 3% 2% 3% 3% No risk/dues back guarantee (refundable dues) 1% 1% 1% 3% Other 1% 6% 1% 2%18 No special offers 7% 4% 6% 10% Whereas the first-year dues First-year dues discounts are significantly more likely to discount was previously seen considered the second most show increases in new as the most effective effective recruitment strategy members and in renewals recruitment method for both for recruiting the most over the past year. getting the most new members and recruiting Associations relating to members, conference or members cost-effectively. professional services, convention discounts are Associations with less than education and healthcare are currently viewed as the most 80% renewal rates are more likely to indicate that effective method for gaining significantly more likely to discounts on conferences are the most members. indicate their most effective most effective for bringing in Discounts on recruitment tactic for gaining new members, whereas conferences/conventions are the most members is through associations in the also considered the most multiple-year dues discounts finance/accounting and effective recruitment tactic for (9% vs. 4%). building/construction attracting members cost- industries report that first-year Association executives that effectively. dues discounts are most indicate a free trial is most effective for recruiting the effective in recruiting members most new members. and most cost-effective are
  19. 19. What is your overall membership renewal rate? 40% 2010 (N=403) 37% 2009 (N=337) 29% 21% 18% 16% 11% 7% 4% 4% 4% 3% 3% 2% Under 50% 50% to 59% 60% to 69% 70% to 79% 80% to 89% 90% or higher Not sure Close to 60% of association Associations indicating a One-quarter of the largest executives indicate that they renewal rate at 90% or higher associations (those with over have a renewal rate of 80% or are significantly more likely to 20,000 members) have a higher. What is noticeable, report overall association renewal rate less than 70%. 19 however, is that the membership increases over Organizational/trade percentage of associations the past year. associations are significantly whose renewal rate of 90% or While the majority of more likely to report renewal higher has dropped associations report renewal rates of 90% or higher, dramatically. While this may be rates between 80% and 90%, compared to associations a function of the sample this smaller associations (fewer offering individual or both year, there are increases in the than 1,000 members) are types of memberships (31%: percentage of associations significantly more likely to organizational/trade vs. 15%: reporting lower renewal rates report renewal rates at 90% or individual and 9%: both). overall. higher, compared to associations with more members. Renewal Rate by Association Member Size 0% to 70% to 80% to Over Association Member Size N Not sure 69% 79% 89% 90% Up to 1,000 97 13% 11% 44% 29% 2% 1,001 to 5,000 106 19% 29% 31% 17% 4% 5,001 to 20,000 105 17% 24% 39% 16% 4% Over 20,000 88 23% 19% 47% 11% 0%
  20. 20. Which of the following communications methods do you use to help onboard or engage new members in the association? 72% Email welcome 62% 68% Mailed welcome kit 83% Membership card or 59% certificate 58% Volunteer or staff 32% welcome phone call 26% New member introductory 27% email series 14% 25% Invite to chapter meeting 23% Special discounts on 23% purchases 17% In-person new member 20% reception 19%20 New member newsletter 20% (mail or electronic) 11% 18% New member survey 20% Custom new member 11% renewal series 7% Telemarketing welcome 10% phone call 4% 4% Early or "at-birth" renewal 2% No special 2% communication 2% 2010 (N=402) 5% Other 2009 (N=337) 8%
  21. 21. Seventy-two percent of association executives Organizational/trade associations areindicate they use an email welcome kit to help significantly more likely to use volunteer oronboard or engage new members, an increase staff welcome phone calls and in-personover the previous study (72% in 2010 vs. 62% in member receptions to onboard new members2009). compared to associations offering individual or both types of membership.Approximately two-thirds of respondentsreport using mailed welcome kits, a decrease On the other hand, associations that usefrom the 2009 study of 15 percentage points telemarketing welcome phone calls, where(68% in 2010 vs. 83% in 2009). However, there is little personal shared experience, arefindings indicate that associations with greater significantly more likely to have demonstratedthan 80% renewal are significantly more likely declines or no change in membership numbersto use the mailed welcome kits (75% vs. 58%). over the past year.About 59% of association executives indicate Interestingly, the smaller associations (thosethey provide a membership card or certificate with 5,000 or fewer members) are significantlyto help onboard or engage new members. more likely to engage or onboard newResults show, however, that associations members using the more personal tactics suchproviding these membership documents as volunteer or staff welcome phone callsare significantly more likely to have had and/or in-person new member receptions.decreases in overall new member growth Association executives fromover the past year. building/construction and manufacturingAnother communication tactic that is indicate their associations are still more likelycorrelated with renewal rates of 80% or higher to use mailed welcome kits than an emailis a volunteer or staff welcome phone call. welcome (85% and 92%, respectively) to helpFurthermore, associations showing increases in engage or onboard new members.overall membership over the past year are 21significantly more likely to use this “personalservice” in the form of an in-person newmember reception.
  22. 22. How many membership renewal CONTACTS do you make before a membership expires with your organization (such as mailings, emails, phone calls)? 46% 44% 2010 (N=404) 22% 21% 20% 2009 (N=337) 19% 7% 6% 3%22 2% 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% None 1 to 3 4 to 6 7 to 9 10 to 12 13 to 15 16 to 18 More than Not sure 18 The number of membership professionals report that their renewal rates higher than 80%, renewal contacts made before association makes fewer than are more likely to attempt a membership expires with an four (22%: one to three more renewal contacts before organization has not varied contacts) or greater than six a membership expires. These much since the previous study. but fewer than ten (20%: seven increases in renewal rates The majority of association to nine contacts). appear after seven contacts. executives indicate that their Directionally, findings association attempts four to six demonstrate that associations contacts before the with overall increases in membership expires (44% in membership over the past 2010 vs. 46% in 2009). About year, as well as those with two in ten association
  23. 23. When do you start the renewal effort? Immediately after 6% welcoming 10% Prior to 6 months of 8% expiration 8% At 6 months prior to 5% expiration 7% 5 months prior to 3% expiration 5% 4 months prior to 14% expiration 13% 3 months prior to 35% expiration 33% 2 months prior to 15% expiration 13% 1 month prior to 7% 23 expiration 5% The month of 3% expiration 4% 2010 (N=405) 3% Not sure 2009 (N=336) 5% Statistically, there are few One-third of associations still Results indicate that differences between the begin the renewal efforts at associations with renewal rates findings from the current study about three months prior to of 80% or higher, as well as and the previous study with membership expiration, on par those that have shown regard to when associations with the previous study. membership increases over begin the renewal effort. the past five years are Directionally, however, it seems significantly more likely to wait that associations are a bit less until about two months prior likely, compared to the 2009 to membership expiration to findings, to begin the renewal begin their renewal efforts. effort until four months prior to membership expiration.
  24. 24. When do you end renewal efforts (stop renewal contacts to the member)? 1% At the month of expiration 2% 9% 1 month after expiration 9% 14% 2 months after expiration 13% 23% 3 months after expiration 21% 7% 4 months after expiration 13% Not asked in 2010 More than 4 months after expiration 17% 2% 5 months after expiration Not asked in 2009 6 months after expiration 8% Not asked in 200924 14% More than 6 months after expiration Not asked in 2009 19% We dont stop contact 21% 2010 (N=404) 3% Not sure 2009 (N=336) 4% Similar to the 2009 findings, Directionally, associations that While organizational/trade about one-quarter of the boast renewal rates of 80% or associations and those offering association executives indicate higher are more likely to both types of membership are they end renewal efforts up to indicate they do not stop significantly more likely to end two months after a contacting members after they their renewal efforts after three membership expires (24%). An lapse (16% vs. 20%). months, associations offering additional one-quarter of Interestingly, association individual memberships are associations continue their executives indicate they are significantly more inclined not renewal efforts until three slightly less likely to continue to end until more than six months after expiration (23%). contact indefinitely with lapsed months after expiration. members compared to those from the 2009 study.
  25. 25. Do you offer any of the following renewal options? 46% 2010 (N=246) 33% 28% 22% 19% 10% Installment renewal Multi-year renewals Renewal bill-me Automatic annual Early-renewal Automatic annual payments credit card renewal discounts Electronic Funds (monthly, quarterly) Transfer (EFT) renewals Almost one-half of the Associations showing an Individual membership association executives indicate increase in renewals over the associations are significantly 25 their association offers some past year are significantly more more inclined to offer sort of installment plan for likely to offer automatic credit automatic annual credit card renewal payments (i.e., card renewals, compared to renewal than monthly, quarterly, etc.) (46%). associations with declines in organizational/trade One-third of the associations renewals (29% vs. 17%). associations (28% vs. 9%), offer multi-year renewals, while organizational/trade The smallest associations (up presumably at a discounted associations are significantly to 1,000 members) are price. more likely to offer installment significantly more likely to offer payments (67% vs. 41%). Associations with renewal rates installment renewal payments. of 80% or higher are The largest associations (over Associations in the education significantly more likely to offer 20,000 members) are and scientific/engineering EFT renewals (14% vs. 3%) as significantly more likely to offer industries are most likely to well as installment payment automatic annual credit card offer multi-year renewals, while plans (55% vs. 35%). renewal and/or multi-year those associations pertaining Associations with renewal rates renewals. to professional services or less than 80% are significantly healthcare are more likely to more inclined to offer multi- offer payment installments as year renewals (54% vs. 18%). renewal options.
  26. 26. Which of the following marketing channels do you use for membership renewals? 88% Email marketing 83% 85% Direct mail 91% 49% Staff phone calls 56% 24% Peer member contacts 31% 23% Telemarketing 27% 15% Board phone calls 28% Chapter phone calls 14% 15% 11% Fax 17%26 7% Employer contact 4% 2010 (N=405) Other 3% 2009 (N=333) 4%
  27. 27. Greater than eight in ten association Telemarketing is used significantly more byexecutives use email marketing and/or direct those associations reporting new membermail marketing channels for membership declines as well.renewals. Interestingly, the percentage of those Larger associations (those with 5,000 or moreusing email marketing has increased in nearly members) are significantly more likely to utilizethe same proportion as the decline in the marketing channels such as email marketing,percentage of respondents using direct mail direct mail, telemarketing and chapter phonefrom the 2009 study, suggesting that email calls compared to associations with fewer thanmarketing may be replacing direct mail 5,000 members. The smaller associations aremarketing for some associations. significantly more likely to employ the moreAlmost one-half of the association “personal” marketing channels such as staffprofessionals report using staff phone calls as a and board member phone calls and peermembership renewal channel. This percentage member contacts.has also declined slightly since the previous Trade/organizational associations arestudy. significantly more likely to rely on staff phoneIn fact, the proportion of association calls and board phone calls than individualexecutives indicating what channels they use member associations for renewals, utilizing thefor renewals has declined for almost every more “personal approach” for their renewalcategory, with the exception of email efforts. Individual member associations andmarketing and employer contact. For board those offering both types of membership arephone calls, the percentage of executives significantly more likely to depend on emailusing this channel for renewals has dropped by marketing, telemarketing and chapter phonealmost half. calls for their renewal efforts, compared to trade/organizational associations.Personal contact, however, appears to be a keyingredient for increasing renewals, as 27associations with renewal rates of 80% orhigher are significantly more likely to usepersonal approaches such as staff phone calls(56% vs. 38%) and/or peer member contacts(28% vs. 19%). Interestingly, chapter phonecalls do not have the same “personal” effect,as associations with renewal rates below 80%,as well as those indicating declines in overallnew member growth, are significantly morelikely to utilize chapter calls as a renewalmarketing channel.
  28. 28. What do you believe is the ONE TOP reason members DO NOT renew membership in your organization? Perceived lack of 36% value 20% Employer wont pay or 25% stopped paying dues 22% 11% Too expensive 22% 6% Forgot to renew 11% 4% Retirement 4% 4% Lost job 3% 1% Switch to competitor 0% 1%28 Customer service 0% 2% Not sure 4% 2010 (N=400) 12% 2009 (N=333) Other 14%
  29. 29. Unlike in the previous study, price is not the While the forgetfulness aspect is considered atop driver responsible for non-renewals; in fact, leading cause of non-renewal by only 6% of theone-third of the association executives indicate association executives, associations with 80%that they believe members do not renew renewal rates or higher, overall increases inbecause they perceive a lack of value in the membership over the past year and/or the pastorganization. This is an increase of about 80%. five years, increases in new members and/or renewals are significantly more likely toOne-quarter of association professionals indicate that membership lapses are due toindicate they believe members do not renew the fact that members simply forgot to renew.because employers have stopped or will notpay for membership dues (25%). This Respondents indicating a decline inrepresents only a small increase from the 2009 membership after five years are significantlyfindings. Individual member associations as more likely than associations showing growthwell as those offering both individual and to indicate that members do not reneworganizational memberships are significantly because of a perceived lack of value (45%:more likely to report this as the reason for decline after 5 years vs. 32%: growth after 5members not renewing, compared to years). This may suggest that an association’sassociations offering only organizational/trade value proposition should be enhanced ormemberships (32%: individual and 22%: both reviewed to help retain members.vs. 11%: organizational/trade). Trade associations are significantly more likelyOnly 11% of association executives indicate to report that members do not renew becausethat members do not renew because the dues of a perceived lack of value (50%: trade vs.are too expensive, a drop of 50% from the 29%: individual and 37%: both).previous study (11% in 2010 vs. 22% in 2009). Associations indicating declines in overallFurthermore, only about 6% feel that members membership figures and/or member renewalssimply forget to renew, also a decline byalmost 50% (6% in 2010 vs. 11% in 2009). are significantly more likely to believe 29 members do not renew because their employers will not pay or have stopped paying the dues.
  30. 30. How long after a membership expires do you continue to “grace” members with services? Services stop at 22% membership expiration 20% 19% 1 month 16% 16% 2 months 14% 27% 3 months 25% 5% 4 months 11% 8% More than 4 months 10%30 Services continue 1% indefinitely 0% 2% 2010 (N=404) Not sure 4% 2009 (N=334)
  31. 31. Twenty-two percent of association Furthermore, associations reportingprofessionals indicate that services stop when membership increases over the past yearthe membership expires, on par with findings and/or the past five years are significantly morefrom 2009 (22% in 2010 vs. 20% in 2009). likely to have extended a grace period for services of at least four months to lapsedOne-third of association executives report that stop within two months ofmembership expiration (35%). This represents The largest associations (over 20,000 members)a somewhat higher percentage of associations are significantly more inclined to terminate allcompared to the previous study, indicating that services at the point of membership expiration,associations are not “gracing” former while the smaller associations (up to 5,000members with services for as long as they may members) are significantly more likely tohave in the past. extend services for more than four months to lapsed members.About one-quarter of respondents indicatetheir associations stop all member services Associations offering organizational/tradethree months after the membership has memberships are significantly more likely toexpired. report they provide services for more than four months, compared to individual membershipOnly 14% continue to “grace” members with associations or those offering bothservices for four months or longer, down from membership types (14%: trade vs. 6%:21% in 2009. individual and 4%: both).Findings indicate that associations withrenewal rates of 80% or more are more likely to“grace” their lapsed members with services forat least four months after their membershiphas expired. Associations with renewal rates 31under 80% are significantly more likely to stopservices at the point of membership expiration.
  32. 32. After a membership lapses or expires, how long do you continue to contact the member to invite them to reinstate their membership? We dont contact lapsed 10% members 8% 24% 1 year after expiration 25% 15% 2 years after expiration 13% 6% 3 years after expiration 6% 6% 4 to 5 years after expiration 5% 1% 6 to 9 years after expiration 1%32 10 years or more after 1% expiration 0% We continue indefinitely to 24% contact lapsed members 30% 7% Not sure 7% 2010 (N=403) 7% Other 2009 (N=333) 6%