Patricia Qvern is an operations manager at Quality Contact Solutions in Omaha, Nebraska.
In today’s time-strapped world, most of us are looking for more convenience, less hassle, and fewer minutes wasted on mundane tasks. Greater productivity comes from eliminating busywork.
Membership professionals should look at their organization’s renewal campaigns with this mindset. In my experience, offering a two-year renewal can save members time and money and increase their satisfaction with the association.
Contrary to what some people think, two-year renewals are not about getting more money from the member. They’re about providing better value and benefits, and they often make it easier to retain members.
In my experience, after working with several associations that offer two-year membership as an option, typically, 10 percent to 30 percent of renewing members take advantage of the cost savings and convenience of a two-year membership. Here’s why a two-year renewal offer might work well for your association:
Affordability. Whether a dues payment comes from the member’s or employer’s pocket, two-year renewals can save money (for example, the offer might give a $50 discount on the second year). For the association, it’s cost effective, too, because it avoids an investment of staff time or budget on membership retention efforts in year two.
Convenience. How many times have you received a renewal notice in the mail or via phone or email and thought, “I don’t have time to take care of this right now. I’ll do it later.” A week later, another notice comes, only this time it’s a reminder on the original reminder to renew. With two-year renewals, you limit the number of notices sent to your members.
Productivity. For members, two-year renewals can provide prolonged access to long-term benefits such as certifications or legal and regulatory information, as well as short-term benefits like newsletters, articles, and toolkits to aid the member in his or her daily work. Being able to maximize usage without renewing can be a productivity boost. It also gives association staff multiple touchpoint opportunities to serve the member’s needs in the long term. A two-year renewal option reduces the chance of a mishap and keeps staff focused on members’ important issues, not just urgent ones.
Some members will never commit to a two-year renewal, and some can’t choose that option simply because of their employer’s restrictions. But this tactic isn’t about winning over the majority—it’s about having a renewal option that’s flexible and easy for members to take advantage of.