There are a number of reasons why people leave a membership organisation. It’s really important that you understand why they do, and have a policy in place to follow up with every cancelled member, either by a personal telephone conversation or through an automated process. A lot of the reasons are often through lack of engagement, even if it’s the member themselves who has not actively involved. It’s also important to understand why members join in the first place, because if these goals have not been met then there is a likely hood they may leave. So for example if someone joined a gym to lose weight and within a year didn’t, how likely may they remain a member ? But they’re maybe other reasons like lack of time, lack of motivation, a bad experience in a class or financial reasons. You will always lose members and sometimes its easy to take that personally, ie to feel like we’ve done so much for them, why are they leaving ?
However, people and companies have all sorts of motives for leaving their membership organisation sometimes it was simple as the renewal invoice came in at the wrong time, and the member has had some major financial pressures. But those cancelled member calls can be insightful and help the organisation pick up any issues that you could later address.
In some cases, you may of course have to cancel them through lack of payment and responses to such. A courteous exit could always leave the door open for a possible rejoin. If you can figure out the average life of a member, it will help you understand that maybe the most vulnerable membership are those members that have joined within 2 years.
Here are some reasons why members may cancel – find out your shortlist and ensure you record it on your member database
- Selling the business
- Not using the benefits, or these weren’t relevant
- No or little value versus the cost
- Moving out of the sector
- Financial reasons – struggling or cut backs
- Business liquidation
- Using other associations
- Communications were not relevant to me, ie they preferred a targeted approach
- Not enough regional involvement maybe London centric
- Disagreed with association national or local policy
- Not welcoming or too cliquey
- Not a priority for me
- A member complaint
- Employer no longer paying
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And if you want to reduce member attrition, contact me to discuss how I may be able to help you.