The Strauss Blog

Association Membership Renewals: Are You Ready?

For those of us who work in the association management world, mid-November to January is our busy time of year due to membership renewals. Processing, keeping track of, and following up with association members regarding their renewals keeps us busy. If you do not have a plan in place for your membership renewals then they may not run as smoothly as you’d like them to.

Creating A Timeline for Association Membership Renewal

In our office, we start planning for renewals in September. The first thing that needs to be done is to create a renewal schedule with the dates for sending the initial renewal email, follow-up emails, phone reminders and finally, termination letters. Here is an example of what a timeline looks like:

Date Method
Renewal Notice Nov. 22 Email
First Reminder Dec. 6 Email
Second Reminder Dec. 20 Email
Third Reminder Dec. 28 Email
Fourth Reminder Jan. 10-12 Phone Calls
Notice of Pending Termination Jan. 19 Email and Letter
Letter of Termination Feb. 2 Email and Letter

The Renewal Email to Association Members

Once the timeline has been created, the next step with many of our association clients is to contact the chair of the association to draft a letter to the membership regarding the past year and what’s planned for the year ahead. The draft letter is to be received at the office at least two weeks prior to the date the renewal notice is scheduled to be sent. It is important for the renewal notice email to include member renewal instructions, along with a reminder to review their member profile information to make sure it is up to date. Having these instructions in the renewal notice email will help reduce the number of emails and calls to the office requesting assistance with the renewal payments.

A sample of what the instructions to association members might look like is below:

The 2018 membership renewal invoices are now available online. Membership fees are due by December 31, 2017.

To log-in, click “member section’ at the top of the homepage. Your username is the email address where you received this email.

When you log-in, please also click on the Manage Profile link in order to edit your profile information and make any changes as necessary.

Renew your membership by clicking on the Invoice icon under Manage Profile. You can choose to pay your membership online by credit card in real-time or you can send a cheque through to the office.

Following Up by Email and Phone

Follow-up reminder emails are scheduled to go out to association members every two weeks until the due date. As per the timeline above, there are two reminders going out two weeks apart, and then the final email reminder a couple of days before the renewal due date. These reminders are sent out only to those members whose membership dues are currently outstanding. The reminder emails are to include the Membership Renewal Instructions only; there is no need to resend the Chair’s message in these reminders. The last reminder I like to include is a note regarding the late fee that will be charged to those who do not pay their membership dues on time..

Please note that membership dues that are not paid by December 31, 2017 will be subject to a $50 late fee.

Adding this late fee message will help get those late payers to pay on time.

Many association members send cheques on the renewal due date. As such, I wait a week before making the follow-up calls so I can process these payments before attempting to collect the outstanding dues. Hopefully by this time, with the three renewal notice reminders, the follow-up call list will not be long. Follow-up calls are one of my least favourite tasks. If you are like me and dread calling members to collect payment, the Membership Renewal Calls blog will help you get through it like a pro.

Getting the Board Involved

Once the follow-up calls have been completed, the list of members whose dues are outstanding is forwarded to the Board of Directors. The Board is asked to review the list and contact those who they may know.

The Final Steps

Your last attempt to get members to pay their dues is by sending pending termination letters. These letters are a final reminder to those whose payments are still outstanding and are sent via email and mail to the members. A few weeks after the pending termination letter is sent out, the final termination letter is sent via registered mail and the members profile is set to non-active/terminated in the association management system. And you are now done for another year!

The key to getting through the busy membership renewal season is setting a timeline and sticking to it.