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The Future of: Member Retention

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

The Membership Guys state that it’s about 7-10 times more costly to win a new member than to retain an existing one.

4 members of an organisation sit around together and smile over coffee while looking at a tablet

Retaining members is a necessary goal for every membership organisation. However, new factors brought about by COVID means that it’s never been more of a challenge.

The below article should highlight why this is. Therefore you, as a digital engagement coordinator for your membership organisation, can improve your member retention efforts. It’s 2022 now, and the new year is the perfect time to understand what the year will bring in terms of member retention needs. After reading, you can unveil a 2022 strategy to keep members engaged and paying for this year of membership.

Workplace training is carried out in a seminar room. A woman places sticky notes on a whiteboard while others are sat on their laptops.

Members Demand Reskilling

A study by McKinsey found that nearly two thirds of employees have reflected on their purpose in life due to the pandemic. Nearly half of them said that this has also made them reconsider the kind of work they want to do. Therefore, right now is a key turning point where the industry professionals that make up your membership base are considering leaving your industry. And if they do chase a different purpose in life, they’ll stop paying your membership fees.

Therefore, we believe that 2022 will follow the pattern of previous years. People will stop paying for industry membership due to switching career paths.

However, there’s a way to avoid this pattern. People will stay in their industries if upskilling or reskilling is offered to them. For instance, Sum Total Systems found that 60% of CEOs say a strong upskilling program contributes to their peoples’ loyalty, sense of community, and retention. This is because their people get confidence from the clear action plan it gives them. Therefore, current patterns demonstrate that people will stay in an industry or role if they’re encouraged and given confidence via training.

This member retention strategy is now easier than ever – you don’t have to get members who already have a foot out the door to make the effort to attend your training. Instead, you can simply make training videos available to them. Hire CPD Online by telling us about your next training session in this form. We can record them to make them more widely available to your members so that they can learn from them. This way, they’ll be more invested in their role. They’ll therefore be likelier to stay in that role and continue being a member of your industry body. They should also therefore be more likely to keep paying for the benefits of your membership.

A clock next to a laptop on a desk

Members Need Accessible and Timely Content

In a similar vein to providing recordings of training sessions, you should ensure that this, and all other content you provide for your members, is accessible. If you don’t have online content that members can access on any device, they may not keep paying for membership. Furthermore, it should be content that all members, including those with disabilities, or who speak other languages, can understand without any difficulties.

Furthermore, due to the impact of the pandemic, members have increased assumptions of when they can expect to consume your content. Remote events, available to anyone all over the world, became a norm in 2020. So, The Membership Guys state that you should vary the scheduled times for your live training and other live elements of your membership, to account for people in multiple timezones. Organisations that don’t allow for flexible online content, will be seen as behind the times. These will be the ones that struggle to retain members.

Speaking of being behind the times, don’t be stuck in 2020 offering these flexible events as mere Zoom calls. The key to showing innovation for members so that they see membership as valuable, is to give members the high quality they expect from today’s digital world – contact CPD Online here, and we’ll provide a high quality livestream and on-demand recording of your event.

It should also be broken down into bitesize content, as The Membership Guys also point out – with dwindling attention spans, it’s becoming more and more of a likelihood with members that get overwhelmed with content will “check out” so they never properly get started with the learning you provide. Today, it’s much harder to retain members with longer content; this is no longer more desirable. Instead, microlearning is preferred.

A coffee cup next to a laptop and notebook, to signify a coffee break.

Membership Breaks are More Common

Harvard Business Review have stated for the past year how much more common career breaks became after the pandemic. LinkedIn have started to normalise them slightly more on their profile requirements, and some employers have built and expanded return-to-work programs.

To follow this pattern, The Membership Guys have stated that membership organisations can improve retention by allowing people to pause their membership.

Due to the pandemic, people won’t want to spend their potentially reduced income on membership fees for a career that they may have had to take a break from, for mental or physical health reasons. A more flexible option, whereby people don’t have to cancel their membership and can instead pause it to then resume it when they can afford to, can do wonders to improve retention and be more compatible with the career paths of your members in 2022 and beyond.

A membership management team gather around an office table on laptops and are addressed by a man next to a whiteboard


Today, membership fees are a privilege that people will only wish to pay if they know they’re getting what they need out of your organisation.

To improve member retention in 2022, membership associations need to:

• Provide upskilling and reskilling opportunities

• Provide bitesize content that is accessible and timely

• Allow for breaks/pauses in membership

Thankfully, 2022 is when these member retention strategies are easier than ever. Providing training opportunities and content is very easy as you can cater for thousands of members remotely. Email ijanneh@cpdonline.tv today to see how we can help broadcast your training to remote members in a high quality manner.

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