Membership Pro Tip: Delve Deeper to Regain Lapsed Members

Reaching out a little farther to lapsed members with better, more relevant communications has yielded some excellent results for one association. Find out why.

Extending back to members who have lapsed over one to two years is pretty standard, but what happens when you delve a little deeper and go back, say, five years? Finding the sweet spot of how far back to go is ongoing, says Maureen Geoghegan, communications and membership executive at the American Society of Anesthesiologists. But so far, it’s definitely been worth it.

How Does It Work?

Geoghegan’s team has a multichannel communications plan, but email is the main tactic for reaching out to lapsed members. They have focused on frequent communications and creating emails that aren’t just a laundry list of all the things lapsed members are missing out on.

They lead with a specific story, benefit, or resource that directs the lapsed members to resources they might need without overwhelming them. It doesn’t always have to be a traditional resource, but something they might not know about like wellbeing information to manage burnout and stress.

“We’re trying to connect people to the resources that we provide, and not always position it like the all-or-nothing membership offer,” Geoghegan says.

Why Is It Effective?

It has doubled the number of rejoins ASA generally has in a year. They’re also conducting qualitative interviews, beyond just exit interviews, with lapsed members and ones who have rejoined to get a better understanding of what motivated them to rejoin, or what it would take to get them to rejoin.

What’s the Benefit?

For ASA, it’s bringing people back into the membership. ASA has strong membership goals for revenue and for member numbers. “The more active, engaged members, the better it is for the Society,” Geoghegan says.

Some members, who might have dropped off because of the pandemic or because they simply forgot to renew, are accidental nonmembers and the communications remind them of the day-to-day resources ASA offers, beyond the annual meeting.

“People want to be communicated with at other times than when we’re invoicing them,” Geoghegan says. “That sort of engagement communication is a high priority for us.”

Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

(erhui1979/DigitalVision Vectors)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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