Membership simplification is a fascinating topic. Associations come in many shapes and sizes, and as such, the memberships offered vary greatly. This means there are often several different membership levels to choose from when it comes time to renew your dues. Consolidation can take this complex experience one step further by allowing you to set up only two or three tiers for your membership benefits instead of dozens.
What’s the membership experience like for your association? It can be anything from a few clicks to sign up and access benefits, to logging in separately on multiple sites and getting lost in an endless loop of passwords. The simple truth is that this process has become confusing for both members and associations alike.
Consolidating your memberships can simplify this process, especially post-covid, and offer many benefits for both you and your association. From saving time to making the experience smoother, there’s plenty to love about consolidation. And with all those savings, it won’t be long before your membership is more streamlined than ever.
Below we’ll go over how you can simplify the process of consolidating your membership tiers into one easy-to-use experience.
Keep it simple.
You can do this by combining all of the different tiers into one or two that best suit your associations’ needs and members’ preferences. This will make things easier on your associations’ financials and member experience.
Do your research and determine which levels will work best for you. If you can offer different membership types that match each member’s needs with only two or three tiers, great! This way, they can also be more easily tracked on an individual level as well.
Create a single place where members can access their information
To reduce confusion among existing members, create a single place where members can access their information in an account. Avoid multiple websites that create inconsistent interfaces and any uncertainty. An easy renewal process means happy members.
A question popped up during a recent client discussion about handling customer information: do you keep it in a single system and risk having one of your systems hacked? Should they be kept separate so then if an AMS is compromised, there’s no data breach for member data through the website? The answer depends largely upon what kind of sensitive personal info pertains specifically to each member. Make sure security measures match industry standards before anything else happens down the road.
Offer benefits and perks for those who renew early using consolidated membership tiers
If there are benefits and perks that members can enjoy, offer them to those who renew their membership early. Offering additional benefits is an excellent way of thanking your loyal supporters. They’ll feel appreciated for being on board from the start, rather than just paying attention when renewal time comes around again next year or month.
There’s no need to wait until you’ve lost some people before rewarding others; if it doesn’t work out, be proactive! You’ll see both sides enjoying renewed commitment as well as more long-term success down the road.
You can also offer rewards or incentives if someone chooses an early renewal option, such as free meeting attendance at local chapter events before they expire, or discounted rates when purchasing through our partner vendors.
Understanding the risk of consolidation
Some organizations may be concerned about combining their memberships, but it’s essential to know that consolidating can work for you. You’re creating a more streamlined experience while maintaining your most loyal supporters’ loyalty so they feel appreciated and rewarded. In terms of marketing resources, less effort will be needed throughout the year if you are laser-focused on these simplified targets.
It’s not always easy to adjust
Memberships are the single most significant responsibility for any association, but they are notoriously difficult to adjust. It can be an arduous process involving a political mind field of committees, boards, and staff. But it’s worth the investment in your members if you see drop-offs or a lack of growth in your association.
Your organization can execute all of the best practices for maintaining growth and retention, but you need to acknowledge when your process is too unclear or difficult to understand. Maybe you have made changes due to the 2020 pandemic, and now you’re receiving pushback from your board to scale back. Or perhaps you had a leadership change—whether it was an election or someone moving on to new opportunities that led to changes in the board and staff structure. It is never too late to evaluate your membership process and consolidate it if you have more membership levels than you need.
Consolidation helps to simplify the experience for your members by making it easier and more intuitive. It also makes organizational improvements like simplifying how dues are paid because you can move everyone to more manageable levels without having multiple tiers with sublevels of membership with different rates.
During COVID-19, we know that associations have had to adapt their memberships into a virtual setting. Still, now that we are heading back to normalcy, it might be time to consolidate some of those memberships into a more streamlined experience. Your goal should always be on the needs of your members. Offering them one easy-to-find place where they can go whether they are renewing, paying dues in full, or becoming an entirely new member starts by making it as intuitive and straightforward as possible for them to be a part of your mission.
Currently in-between AMS systems and looking for advice?
Reach out to DJG for our insight on the best platforms to take a look at and what best integrates with your primary website configuration.