Membership Tips

23 November 2016 Andy

Making your renewals system work for you and your members

Many membership organisations have a fixed renewal system that renews over Christmas and the New Year. This system can often put a strain on an organisation, their resources and their staff so here are a few tips that could help you better manage your member subscriptions.

The choices: fixed or rolling

Choosing whether to use a fixed or rolling membership system can be a dilemma for your membership organisation.  Before we explore the pros and cons of each, let’s just take a look at the difference:

  • Fixed: All members renew on the same day or in the same month.
  • Rolling: Members renew on the day (or month) that they signed up.

Around two thirds of membership organisations are using fixed models but this is shrinking as rolling is becoming more popular. There is no right choice overall as it depends on your organisation and its members. The points below will aim to point you in the right direction.


Rolling membership

From the members’ perspective, rolling is generally seen as more convenient and less confusing. As a member you sign up when you want. You don’t have any issues with needing to wait for a particular time of year or the first year being a part year like in a fixed system.

A rolling membership system also smooths out your workload. So memberships are processed each week instead of once a year which can be easier on staff.

Lastly, a rolling system provides a regular income instead of a windfall in one month. This can be seen as a plus for money management and budgeting.


Fixed membership

The main advantage of a fixed system is that you know what activities you should be doing at various points of the year. Providing the annual extra workload is not an issue, the system can be seen as easier to manage.

Marketing for a fixed system is arguably better in terms of results. You can have set points ahead of renewals month where campaigns go out to members knowing that they are all likely to be interested.

If you choose a fixed system then be aware of picking the right renewal time. Christmas might not be the best time as your staff might be in short supply and members might be otherwise engaged.

Why the rise in rolling?

Traditionally fixed systems have been favoured due to technical difficulties implementing rolling systems. Now with technology such as our own RiverCRM, designed with membership in mind, the system you choose relies less on whether you can support it technically. Rolling is in the rise as organisations have realised they need to be more convenient for members.

Which is right for your organisation?

So why use rolling? You want to spread out admin work and have a regular income as well as avoid confusion in the first year for your members. You want to be more member-centric.

So why use fixed? You want a set time of year for admin work and income as well as wanting more control over your marketing timings.

There’s still no right answer. Whichever you pick needs to be a balance of what is best for your members and how you would like to operate as a membership organisation.

If you need some help or need a new system then talk to us.

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