Membership Retention

Member Retention involves excellent customer service, regular staff evaluations, communication with members, staff goal setting, watching trends, and engagement with members. Retention is an essential part of Membership Management, and like Membership Recruitment, is part of the Membership Sales process where Communicating Value and sharing ROI are intertwined and go hand-in-hand. Membership Orientation starts all your members off on the right foot.

Standard Membership Formulas
- Retention = (Total number of member accounts last year - total number of cancelled member accounts current year) / Total number of member accounts last year
- Calculate Net Gain/Loss in % of New Member Dollars (current year) = (Dollar value of the total new member accounts current year - Dollar value of the total cancelled member accounts current year) / Dollar value of the chamber's total member accounts last year
- Calculate Net % Gain/Loss New Member Accounts (current year) = (Total new member accounts current year - Total number of cancelled member accounts current year) / Total number of member accounts last year

For more on membership calculations, read 8 Critical Equations for Membership Recruitment and Retention by Cathi Hight and see Operations/Membership statistics with calculations in Dynamic Chamber Benchmarking.


Retention Programs in Action

  • Recruitment and Retention ideas such as retention-focused events (reach out to current members and keep them as current members); Retention Committees; Operation Thank You (The Nacogdoches County Chamber (TX) annually conducts "Operation Thank You" where the staff hand-deliver new publications and seek a conversation with members who are not always the networkers. The personal touch goes a long way.)
  • "Taste the Chamber" luncheon - The Eden Prairie Chamber (MN) hosts this free luncheon event at a restaurant. There is a 20-30 minute presentation and a pitch for non-members to join. Ambassadors (and anyone else) are encouraged to bring prospects; anyone whose prospect joins (and lists them as the referral) receives $100 cash! See the full discussion of ideas on this LinkedIn Thread.
    • Key details - members can only attend if accompanied by a non-member guest (although the chamber hand-selects 4 members to give testimonials and also has board members attend). At the end of the presentation, the chamber provides special incentives to join that day and that day only - waived initiation fee, restaurant gift certificates, etc. (You don't want them to say they need to think about it!)
    • Success - The chamber runs the event twice a year. Each draws about 60 non-members and 20 members (the room is sold out and full of energy!), after which between 20-24 new members join. Total dues revenue is about $12,000 versus about $2000 in expenses and approximately another $2000 - $2500 in referral dollars. The chamber also reaches additional prospects who will potentially join in the future.
  • See also Ambassador Programs

Sample Policies, Plans & More

  • See all Retention examples from ACCE's Samples Library
  • Krawczak Formula for Member Retention - Telling your story is one of the key ways that Jaclynn Krawczak has maintained a renewal rate of 95 percent or higher during her nine-year stint as Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce (MI) President and CEO.
  • Member Retention Plan Asheville Area Chamber's (NC) plan includes research and anaylsis of overall retention and first year retention, comparing the Asheville Chamber of Commerce to ACCE Operations Survey data. It also includes goals, a strategy, procedures and implementation steps, as well as a method of evaluation.
  • "Hardship Membership" Policy Recommendation - Sample policy from the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance (IA) to help their members impacted by the 2008 flood.
  • Membership Renewal Timeline - Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry (PA) outlines the process for communicating with members in the weeks prior to and subsequent to the deadline for membership renewal, as well as procedures regarding dropped members.
  • Engagement Matrix - This document from the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance (CO) shows the different levels of chamber engagement, including volunteer opportunities, available to members.
  • Small Business Programming to Increase Revenue and Impact Retention from the Dallas Regional Chamber (TX)
  • Timeline: First-Year Retention Plan - A timeline of actions from the Fort Collins Area Chamber (CO) to keep new chamber members happy and appreciated over the course of their first year as a member.
  • An Incentive Approach to Member Retention - Greater Spokane Inc. (WA) has implemented a member retention incentive program, which includes a financial reward for successful staff members.
  • Membership Retention Program - Lake Havasu Area Chamber's (AZ) plan involves communicating with members at all levels of membership, regularly updating and upgrading member benefits, forming alliances with the city government and other key organizations, developing a new mentoring system, and providing networking for smaller groups.
  • It's About Time - Marketing piece from the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce (PA) to answer the question: "What can chamber membership offer me if I have little or no time to participate?"
  • Member Retention Script - Script from Longview Chamber (TX) that can be modified for your chamber and for specific member interests.
  • Membership Retention Plan - Sample from Longview Chamber (TX) includes timeline and actions for different groups, including new members, longstanding members, and largest investors
  • I've Joined a Chamber - Now What? Measuring Your ROI - This checklist from Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce (NC) can be used to ensure that a Chamber member is getting the highest ROI for their membership value, with checklist items for 30, 60, 90, 120, and 180 days.

Sample Renewal & Dropped Member Letters

Samples of Member Surveys

Articles & Blog Postings

Resources from Chamber Membership Pro & Consultant Cathi Hight

Find more presentations by Cathi Hight.

Books & eBooks

Convention & Seminar Resources

Videos, Webinars & ACCE U Resources

Related Chamberpedia Pages

Chamberpedia Home | Membership Management | Membership Retention

Last Updated: 7/28/2017