Membership Renewals: Yes or No?

Scott Oser
November 10, 2020

First, I would like to thank Gail Siminovsky, Executive Director, Academy of Laser Dentistry for the title and for the push to write about this. Our colleagues are a huge resource during this time of social distancing so I hope you are connecting as you can.

Now on to the business at hand.  I have seen, and heard, a lot of discussion recently on whether an association should send out renewals during this time when our members are experiencing anything but business as usual. My answer is YES! In my experience, for most associations, now is not the time to stop sending out renewal reminders as we do still offer value to our members and our members are looking to us for the support that they receive as members.

It is important to note that even though it is not the time to stop sending renewals it is time to change your message and your focus to best address what your members need from you right now. Do you provide access to a community of like-minded individuals or organizations that can be a shoulder to lean on, or a source of information? Do you provide access to content that they need now and will need even more when things get back to normal? Do you offer continuing education that they can take advantage of now while their normal workload may have changed? Are you doing things to help support their industry, so it remains viable? Every association is unique, so It is up to us to understand why a member needs us and what benefits we provide to meet those needs and then communicate that in our renewal efforts.   

I realize that this is a time when many of us want to pull back in fear of seeming callous or harsh, or to be perceived as taking advantage of a crisis. I think that we need to change our perspective and realize that you are asking people to take advantage of a membership that will benefit them in a time of need.  Since one of our goals is to help our members, I do not see why we would want to ever stop communicating that.

Scott has over 20 years of marketing experience in the association and publishing industries. Before starting his consulting firm, he worked for market leaders like National Geographic Society, AARP, and Science. Throughout his career Scott has excelled in developing, implementing, and analyzing multi-channel direct marketing programs. He is highly skilled in creating effective membership, marketing, and sales programs with the ability to align resources and operations to consistently achieve and exceed goals.