losing large association members

Improving Association Retention Performance

President & CEO


What Association doesn’t want to slow down its Member Resignations and improve retention performance? Member losses are difficult especially when an Association loses larger members. Yet the painful lessons from these resignations can help your organization reposition itself and drive accelerated member engagement and achieve improved operating performance. Since member companies are disrupting their industries to stay ahead of the curve, today’s associations are expected to be nimble strategic partners or members will vote with their feet and go somewhere else.

“All You Can Eat Buffet”

If your association has a multitude of product and service offerings it could be perceived as an “all you can eat buffet.” Very few restaurants who offer an on-going, full-service buffet are known for quality or the customer “experience” or have many customers visiting their buffet on a regular basis.

3 Steps: Improving Association Retention Performance

Improving Your Association's Retention Performance

Following the process model (above) review all of your current offerings and potential strategic initiatives to identify relative member business impact on the things your members most care about:

  1. Determine if each offering and initiative fit within your member’s vision of desired business impact – this process is called the “sniff” test.
  2. Explore the relative difficulty to accomplish each current offering or a new initiative. This feasibility assessment is a critical early step in product development and important to revisit in program management.
  3. Scrutinize the members’ unmet needs for the potential to engage key segments in the development of new products; especially in a manner that differentiates your association from your competitors.

Improving Association Retention Performance

In this new model, members will experience far more value because of their increased engagement with your Association.  Over time your members will more gladly pay for the outcomes achieved through a higher business impact experience. For example, The Global Cold Chain Alliance is increasing engagement by utilizing member contracts and its new strategic plan to help drive their member business outcomes. AMDA also applies similar approaches and they report that 6 years of operating deficits were replaced with a 6 figure surplus.

Improving Your Association's Retention PerformanceFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com, www.icimo.com, and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.