First-year members pose the highest risk of not renewing their memberships. It isn't always easy to counteract this, but with strategy and buy-in from all levels of an association, HBAs can have success in helping those new members continue to come back.
NAHB's fall membership program, Attention to Retention, encouraged stronger retention efforts by enabling HBAs to earn cash for renewing memberships of first-year members.
The Southern Nevada HBA
and Charleston HBA
are great examples of associations that successfully hit their retention targets for fall 2019, and each recently shared some of the keys to their success.
The Southern Nevada HBA improved its first-year Builder and Associate retention rate with their fall drive by over 16%. Membership Director Holly Nostro says helping first-year members "realize their benefits to the fullest extent" is one of the biggest challenges.
"We work to show them that participation is key in understanding and utilizing their benefits," Nostro said. "It is important that new members learn and understand everything your HBA has to offer. Getting new members involved as early as possible enhances the opportunities for them to see the value of membership before it’s time to collect renewals. If your retention efforts are focused toward the end of the membership cycle instead of the beginning, often times it's too late."
Eyes on the Prize
Ashley Valdivieso is the director of the Charleston HBA, which improved its first-year Builder and Associate retention rate by over 22%. She says some members might lose sight of why they joined, which can easily lead them to become less involved.
"In the beginning, everyone is always excited to be part of the events," Valdivieso said. "But for some, the glamour wears off or scheduling becomes an issue and then suddenly, the member starts missing events four or five months in."
Valdivieso notes that maintaining consistent contact throughout the entire year, especially with new members, is a critical step to help minimize any potential drop-off in engagement. She also advises making note of new members' expectations and goals. This information can help you personalize communications and guide them toward achieving those goals.
Back to Basics
Among some of the strategy tweaks Nostro made this year, changing from a quarterly orientation luncheon to a monthly, new-member lunch has helped foster more one-on-one time with each of the new members. She's also given her communications a boost by not only sending email blasts to members about upcoming events, but also making direct phone calls to new members, as well as engaging long-time members in helping her with outreach.
Valdivieso’s team recently dedicated their membership manager to focus on making phone calls and sending emails to every member who was due for renewal. They also send thank you cards in the mail to renewing members, as well as include shout-outs in their newsletter when members reach a membership anniversary.
As the end of the year approaches, it is a great time to assess your membership plan and make adjustments, if needed, to start the new year off right. HBAs still have time to earn cash by retaining new members. Attention to Retention ends Dec. 31.
If you have questions about your scorecard or target, please contact the HBA Membership Resources Team