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#MemberMonday: Reengaging Lapsed Members

By Brandi McGrath Kong, Director of Member Services & Conferences

Reengagement is a modern approach to membership retention. It treats our members as people rather than just numbers. When we reengage our members, we do more than simply try to recapture their membership. We help them to reinvest in an organization that once mattered enough for them to join.

Personify, a nonprofit technology and community solutions provider, reminds us that ending a membership doesn’t always mean that an individual has stopped believing in the organization or caring about its mission. Simply put, membership engagement is going to be different at different phases of life. There may be times when a member needs to step back because of family obligations, personal health issues, busy careers or any of the million other complications life throws our way. That’s why it’s important to remember that members value welcoming and inclusive communities that meet members where they are in their lives and membership journey. 

Reengaging members also gives you a stronger starting point for your retention activities. These members have already joined your organization before, meaning they had an interest in or need for your club at some point in the not-too-distant past. These “low-hanging fruit” may be some of the easiest members to bring back into the fold because they likely still have a personal connection to the club and its members. 

If all this still isn’t enough to convince you, let’s look at some data. Annex Cloud, an online customer experience platform, found that a bump in retention of just 5% can raise profits for businesses anywhere from 25 to 95%. While that may not translate exactly to nonprofits like your club, it is important to frame this as an increase in donations, volunteer support, etc. Eighty-two percent of organizations also agree that retention is cheaper than acquisition, meaning that it is less expensive to engage with current and former members than trying to find new ones. 

Sertoma has expanded further on this important topic in its latest training, Reengaging Lapsed Members. You can view it and other club development videos in our Training Library