How to write a membership renewal letter: 8 strategies for success

Written by Andy Pearson

Your membership renewal letter is one of the most critical communications you have with your community. You need to get it right. 

43% of people claim they don’t renew their association memberships due to a lack of engagement with the community. You have the chance to change this. Your membership renewal letter is the perfect opportunity to re-engage your members and get them more involved in your association

Don’t miss out on easy revenue because of a weak renewal letter. Use the following eight steps to write a letter that engages and converts your members.

8 steps for writing a membership renewal letter

1. Get personal 

Your goal should be to make your members feel valued, not like just another number on your bottom line. 

Address the reader directly using ‘you’. Write as if you are having a conversation with them, and don’t pepper your letter with commercial language and heavy jargon. 

The best way to talk directly with a customer is to write in the way you would speak. When you write, imagine you are having a phone conversation with a friend and trying to persuade them to renew their membership. 

A renewal membership letter isn’t about you; it’s about the member and why they are valuable to your organisation. Using the second person allows you to make a connection with the reader and appeal to their emotions. 

There are 16 basic desires that humans are driven by when making decisions. Knowledge, power, belonging, acceptance, and social status, are all emotions behind our decision. If you can tap into your members’ emotions, you can influence their decision-making process. 

Whether that’s telling your members directly why they are such an essential part of your community or showcasing other members as social proof, you need to create the desire to renew that membership. 

If you want to get personal on a more granular level, why not use the data you have about that person to give them a ‘year in review’ type rundown of their membership? Remind your members how they were actively involved in your community in the last year. 

Crafting an individual message for each member is not sustainable but by moving your renewal letters online you can use segmentation to ensure every message you send is as personalised as possible. This will make your customers feel less like they have received a mass membership renewal reminder and more like they received a reminder of why they are so crucial to your organisation. Remember to always use first names as an opener to the letter, not ‘Dear member’ or ‘Dear customer’. 

2. Don’t make it difficult 

Make sure your membership renewal reminder letter has a clear call to action. Whether you want members to update an account or make a payment, make sure the action they need to do is straightforward and well explained. 

Good Membership management software can help with this. When you use software to manage your membership renewals, you don’t need to worry about processing payments or setting up reminders. 

Automating membership renewals saves you and your members time and makes the renewal process easier for everyone.

Unexpected payments won’t make people feel like valued members of your community. So even when payment is automated you still need to send a membership renewal letter or email to let them know a payment will be taken shortly. You can use this as an opportunity to remind them of the incredible benefits they receive from being part of your organisation. 

Where payment is not automated, make it easy for your members to take action immediately.  

Use these tips for getting people to renew their membership straight away: 

✔ Create a link directly to the payment page

✔ Create a memorable short URL such as www.yourname.org/renew that is easy to type in for those reading a physical letter

✔ Have an extensive list of FAQs available so they can address any concerns

✔ Make yourself available – have an easy way for members to contact you

3. Add value

Why has being a member of your organisation been so great? What benefits do you offer to members? If you can remind your members about the value your organisation adds to their life, renewing their membership will be a no-brainer. 

Whether it’s the opportunity to attend exclusive networking events, the chance to give back, the opportunity for personal growth or professional development, remind them why they love being a part of your organisation. 

What have you provided in return for the membership fee? It could be resources, event invitations, networking connections or belonging to a community. Use your membership renewal letter to remind your loyal members about the value they receive by being a member.

Here are some example snippets that could be included in a membership renewal letter to demonstrate value to your members: 

‘This year we shared five exclusive reports with our members’ 

‘Members had access to 25 networking events’ 

‘Members who attended our events received 25% more new business enquiries’

‘90% of the volunteers who received our training went on to find meaningful employment’

Use facts and figures to back up your claims and try not to exaggerate your achievements; make sure the information you provide can be backed up by facts. 

4. Share community updates

What’s new since you last sent a message to members? Use your membership renewal letter to remind members they are part of a vibrant and active community. People are busy; they probably haven’t stayed on top of what has been going on with your organisation. Make it easy for them to see how you’ve been spending your time and money. This is of particular importance if you are a not-for-profit organisation. 

Maybe someone hasn’t been the most active member of your community; this may leave them on the fence about whether or not they should renew their membership. Your renewal letter is your chance to share ideas about how members can become more involved and the benefits they will receive in return. 

Share images and exclusive information about your organisation to encourage people to stay part of it. For example, images of members engaging with your events or activities will make your letter seem more human and less automated and can help tell your story. 

Spotlighting your community members is a great way to show the benefits of membership too. It’s also social proof. If you can share the story of a few members in your renewal letter or newsletter, you can show how much value your organisation brings to people’s lives. 

If you use images, it can demonstrate your point more naturally. When someone receives an email, they don’t read every word, so images can sometimes increase the response rate of your renewal letter. 

5. Be transparent and honest 

People don’t want to read a rambling saga about your organisation, but they are interested; otherwise, they wouldn’t be a member. Keep the updates and the information you wish to share concise and easy to follow.

Be upfront about any changes in your organisation and how they may affect members. Don’t be afraid to be transparent about challenges or weaknesses, as this helps members identify with you. Maybe your membership fees are higher this year; tell your members why. Honesty and openness will build trust between your organisation and its members.  

6. Include a calendar of events

You need to build some excitement with your membership renewal letter. What’s coming up next year? How can members get more involved? Share a calendar of upcoming events to build momentum and create excitement. 

What are the goals of your organisation for the next year? How will this individual’s membership help you achieve these goals? Make sure they know how valued they are and the impact their membership has on your organisation. 

You can use strong vocabulary to introduce your plans for the year ahead, such as: 

✔ We are introducing…

✔ We are improving…

✔ This impacts…

✔ We are doing this because…

7. The all-important subject Line 

An increasing number of membership organisations manage their renewal letters by email. Sending membership renewal letters by email is much more efficient and easier to manage than sending letters by post. 

If you’re sending your renewal letter by email, you’ll have to think about every aspect of the communication, not just the body of the email. 

Think about this scenario; an email lands in your inbox with an incredibly dull subject line. Are you going to open it? Most likely not. On the other hand, if the subject line is enticing or offers value, would you be more inclined to read the message?

Never underestimate the importance of a great subject line to get the reader’s attention. Tease the information in the subject line and don’t make it sound like opening the message will be a chore. If you use words such as ‘do this’, ‘learn that’, it sounds like you require effort on the reader’s part. You want to make things as simple as possible for them. 

Have some fun with your subject line too. If humour works with your brands’ tone of voice, try it out. You could experiment with subject lines such as: 

  • ‘Uh oh, time’s running out’ 
  • ‘Thanks to you, we have….’
  • ‘Your membership year in review’
  • ‘It’s not too late to stay in the club’ 
  • ‘Cheers to another great year together’ 

Keep the subject line short and sweet, and make it clear it’s about being part of your organisation. Create a sense of urgency by using time frames and persuasive language that entices the reader to open the message. 

Do some experimentation with different headlines to see which one gets the highest open rate. You can segment your email list to A/B test different subject lines, and analyse which is the most effective.

8. Follow up tactfully

Even if you follow all the steps in this post, many of your members won’t renew their membership with your first email or letter. They will likely read it and forget about it. 

If members don’t renew from the first communication, you will have to use a gentle reminder to follow up.

You can create urgency without harassing your members. Learn where the line is between the two. Sending several emails a day will make your members feel harassed. So send well-timed, clear messages that make it clear you require them to take action. 

Try the following to generate urgency: 

✔ Incentivise early renewal; you can do this by offering discounts

✔ Be clear about how long they have left to take advantage of incentives

✔ If you are using email, utilise the subject line to create a sense of urgency and scarcity

Membership renewal letter template 

When it comes to the outline and style of the letter, use bullet points and short paragraphs. Make it easy on the eye and ideal for people to scan. Use clever headlines and titles that make the content of your text clear.

Ensure you optimise your membership renewal letter template for mobile. Most people will read it on their phones, so it needs to look good on mobile devices. 

Minimise fluff (pointless information) and be clear about what the call to action is. Here are some membership renewal letter sample calls to action:

‘Click to continue making a difference through your contribution’ 

‘Remain part of the community by clicking here’

‘Be part of another exciting year’ 

Here’s a membership renewal email sample you can use when drafting your letter: 

Dear (first name), 

Thank you for being a valuable member of our community over the past year. You have taken part in X exclusive member events and connected with XX members of the community. 

This year your contributions contributed to XXX goals. Here are some photos of the organisation’s achievements. 

Over the next year, our membership fees will go towards making a difference with XXX. 

We are making XXX changes which means members will now have access to XXX. 

We have big plans for this year, with the following events already lined up: 

  • X
  • X
  • X

Being part of this community provides you with XXX benefits. 

Remain part of the community by renewing your membership today. You can continue with just a couple of clicks. If you renew within 24 hours, you will receive a 20% discount. 

Don’t miss out; click here to stay in the club

With thanks, 

XX

Membership renewal letters don’t need to be a chore 

Writing your membership renewal letter or email may seem daunting. Following a few simple steps can help you to write an effective letter. Use membership renewal letter samples as a starting point for your letter. You can take the above sample and tailor the information to your organisation. 

Before you start writing, be clear on the achievements for the year that you want to share. Write out a list of your goals for the following year. You need to convince your members that their involvement in your organisation is as beneficial to them as it is to you. 

With friendly language, concise wording and a catchy subject line, you’ll encourage your members to renew with ease. 

Make your life easier with membership renewal software that organises all the data about your members. Send personalised messages without compiling tonnes of data manually. White Fuse automates your membership management, so you free up your time to focus on what’s most important. Get started with simple member management today. 

Membership management tips and resources

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