I am strongly recommending that all organizations depending on annual membership generated revenue not take a business as usual approach to your renewal and new member solicitation drives.
Our current economic climate is a putting a real strain on personal and business spending. Any optional expense is likely to be cut. This is not a time for the normal passive approach that most organizations take when soliciting membership.
Too many organizations simply send out a generic annual letter and accept whatever results they get without any additional follow up.
Here are 7 tips to help your nonprofit have success with membership efforts:
1. Treating membership as an assumed annual donation will not get needed results. Supporting a great cause is highly likely not going to be good enough. You must communicate value and benefit to the individual or business receiving your solicitation request.
2. To be successful, your organization must be actively aggressive. Identify specific number goals you must reach to make budget and cover your manpower needs. Specific action steps must be developed for achieving your goals. Action steps must include timelines and people who will be accountable for results.
3. The “everybody try to call somebody on the list” routine does not work! Organize those persistent people who are your get it done folks for specific target follow ups. Identify who has personal connections with prospects and renewals list. You need specific follow up with that group to make sure their follow ups are being made.
4. Have organized follow up with those you are not hearing back from. Chart your results and have action plan for staying on track for meeting goals.
5. The “thank you for your past membership and please send us another check” letter will not get results you want. Contacts need to be personal…not “dear member”..or “dear supporter.” Don’t depend a single mailing as your only contact. Make telephone calls and personal visits.
6. Is your annual request for money the only time someone hears from you? Make sure you are communicating on a regular basis what results are being achieved with the help of your member’s investment. Follow up that renewal or new sign up with personalized thank you.
7. You must be prepared to compete for every single renewal and new member! You will get what you follow up on.