Accentuating The Positive In Emails Renews Members

Use positive phrases in emails and Facebook acquisition ads when urging members and new prospects to renew or join associations. Don’t alienate them with words like “Your membership has expired.

Emphasize the perks of association membership and if there’s no spark of interest in a long-time commitment, ask for a one-time donation.

The marketing and fundraising advice was imparted during a session titled “Membership Programs Unlocked: Using Messaging, Automation and Top-of-Funnel Media to Accelerate Growth” at the annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference in National Harbor, Md.

Kayla Twain, vice president of digital strategy, digital division of Moore in Lanham, Md., partnered on the presentation with Kara Hershorin, senior manager of membership for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the 500-acre estate the first president and his wife Martha owned on the banks of the Potomac River in Mount Vernon, Va.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, which preserves and manages the estate that is held in public trust, turned to CDR (recently rebranded from CDR Fundraising Group) in Lanham, Md., for help expanding its digital and direct mail integration efforts. The association had been mailing similar membership renewal notices for years with minor tweaks to art and paid scant attention to email or Facebook membership renewal or acquisition efforts.

The revamped digital membership renewal and acquisition approach added fresh art to emails and Facebook acquisition ads, along with positive messaging about all the pleasures of touring the estate, receiving special deals, and enjoying the grounds without interruption in membership.

Email messaging and Facebook acquisition ad efforts under the restyled campaign for new and renewed members is:

Benefits focused
Has built-in urgency (Don’t miss out on estate events)
Contain testimonials
Contain alternative options to membership such as donations.

Other recommendations from the presenters on reinvigorating interest in donating and association memberships:

Automate email. Develop a “set it and forget it” email renewal series triggered at key points in the renewal cycle.
Include copy and imagery that increases in urgency as renewal deadlines approach. Highlight members-only perks.
At the end of a renewal series, offer a donate-now option so individuals not interested in membership consider a gift.
Survey members annually and incorporate the feedback into membership program offerings.

Depending on the demographics of the membership renewal audience, “renew your membership” messaging on Facebook could be viewed by some as a privacy violation.  Keep language soft and focused on an opportunity to renew