Ross Poulton, CRM Consultant
Subscription payments are the lifeblood of any membership organisation. Do you have a streamlined end-of-year renewal process? Read on for our top 10 tips for a smooth renewal cycle.
1. What value are you providing, and how much are your members paying?
It might sound obvious, but the perfect time to change your membership structure is at the beginning of a new membership year. If you’re making any changes to membership structures, make sure you build up your transition rules so that all members get the right type of membership when they renew. Check your budget and marketing collateral to make sure you know what your subscription fees will be for the coming year.
2. A last attempt to collect upon unpaid renewals
Unless you work for a unicorn association, you’ll have a subset of members who haven’t yet renewed last year let alone next year! Before sending your renewal notices, make one last push to collect unpaid subscriptions. Some associations may consider a modest discount if paid before the end of the year.
3. Will your renewal notice reach your members?
For many members the only post they’ll receive from you all year is their renewal notice. If you send renewal packs by post, take the opportunity to send an email campaign to your members in the month prior to renewal time to confirm their address. This is much easier with a marketing solution such as ClickDimensions integrated into your CRM and membership system.
4. Identify and check any scheduled upgrades and life memberships
Do you have any members coming up to a tenure milestone or even a life membership? Although your membership system should handle this automatically, take the time to do an audit to ensure you know how many members will be changing grade.
5. Do a test run
Membership systems are great at generating large renewal batches quickly and efficiently. That also means it can be quick to generate incorrect renewal notices! Generate renewal notices for a handful of members to check that pricing, upgrades, changes, and reports are accurate. Your membership management system should highlight any errors here – take the opportunity to fix them before generating renewals for your whole membership base.
6. Renewal time – let your computer do the work!
Showtime! With a membership system such as Upbeat this should be a single-step process. Your hard work will shine and your system will tick away, generating renewal invoices ready for you to collect upon. Reward yourself with a coffee (OK, maybe two) while your system handles the boring part of renewals: invoice creation!
7. Get that printer running hot
If you send renewals in the post, now is the time to print your notices. You might also export renewal information to send to a 3rd party mailing house (for example if you also print and ship new membership cards at renewal time).
8. Remind everyone to renew – and what value they’ll get
Before the end of your membership year, send an email update to your members inviting them to renew. If you’re doing postal renewals, don’t forget an email follow-up! Your invitation needs to remind the member of the benefits you provide and the value they get from your membership.
9. Nobody gets a free ride
Once your year closes out, make sure non-renewed members don’t continue to get benefits they’re not entitled to! If you’re using Upbeat, your lapse and overdue rules will kick in automatically on the dates that you have selected.
10. Charge, baby, charge!
Do your members pay-by-the-month? Make sure you’ve still got billing permission, then roll their payment plan over to the new year. This should be made easy by your membership system – such as with Upbeat’s stored payment profiles and payment plans.
11. Bonus! Follow up, reporting, and provide value to members
Once your members have paid, don’t leave them out in the cold. Ensure each engagement reminds them of the value they’re receiving from your organisation. Similarly, make sure that your internal stakeholders are kept up to date with renewal reports, year-on-year progress, and a visual dashboard showing that subs are contributing to the bottom line of your business.
Upbeat membership engagement technology built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 has specific modules purposefully developed for associations, membership & not-for-profit organisations and provides associations and membership organisations with out-of-the-box functionality for automating all member processes within and across your entire organisation.