The Retention/Reinstatement Committee develops new programs, processes and strategies to retain current members and rerecruit and reinstate lapsed members.
Over the past few years a focus of the SAR has been on the processing of new applications – both the number being processed and the time that it takes for this processing to occur. Close on the heels of this focus is the cost related to getting a new member approved. Estimates are that it takes the SAR approximately two years of dues to recover those costs that are not associated with the application fee.
While the SAR could answer the questions of how many new members and how many reinstatements it generated each year, the basic question of how many members does the SAR retain could not be answered. In other words, while there has been a focus on getting members into the SAR, there was no similar focus on retaining members once they were approved.
In terms of “brass tacks,” the focus on new membership could be distilled into how much new revenue the SAR was receiving from dues but could not answer the question on how much money it was losing in not receiving ongoing dues payments from those members who did not retain their membership.
Feeding this lack of focus on retention is a common belief that many new members are just “Certificate Members” – men who only want a membership certificate to place on their wall and who drop their membership at the first opportunity and that there is really nothing that can be done to combat this type of member.
Thus, over the past two years, two new committees have been established, the first by President General Ed Butler to generate a common Annual Reconciliation Template so that the process of reconciling membership would be standardized and simplified in terms of the man hours needed by the National Office. Secondly, President General David Sympson established the Reinstatement & Retention Committee to study the data available from this new Annual Reconciliation Form to develop useful reports for the general membership and to identify and/or develop materials that can aid the various state societies in their efforts to retain membership.
Thus this new webpage has been developed as the primary means of communicating the analyzed data and the materials identified / developed by the committee.
Hopefully, the materials presented will help each society mitigate the expenses related to the letters and notices that are sent out each year trying to get the member to pay dues to continue their membership as well as lowering the expenses of pursuing the member who has dropped their membership.
Getting back to the issue of the “Certificate Member,” this is not as large a problem as commonly believed. In every state society that has been studied in detail the actual number of “certificate members” runs between 10% and 15% of new members. Where the largest drop off in membership occurs is after the third year of membership! The next largest drop off occurs after the 12th year of membership.
These two demarcation points correspond to firstly not engaging the new member in the work of the chapter or society in the first years of membership. After they give it some time hoping to find a connection point, they eventually drop their membership. Secondly, the member was successfully engaged but has now progressed through all the offices of the chapter/society or has lost interest after working on the projects that initially interested them and is now looking to find something new to do.
Hopefully this webpage will provide tools and suggestions that will be useful in increasing your retention rate. Please check back often as materials and data are updated.
The Reinstatement & Retention Committee