A friend recently complained to me about a renewal letter she received from a nonprofit organization. She had been an active member and promoter of the organization but was recently starting to feel they were not valuing their members. After receiving an automated renewal notice where the only personalization was her name at the top she decided not to renew.
Many nonprofits are extremely busy which makes reaching all of your goals a challenge. Automation can be an integral part of an organization’s ability to accomplish more. However, it’s important that automation doesn’t make you lose touch with your members.
Members know when they get automated or bulk email. If it’s for general information it’s expected but when you’re asking for their money they want to know you care about them. They want to feel that they are an important part of your organization. Follow these 3 simple rules for successful membership renewal letters.
Personalize Membership Renewal Letters
Sending a personalized renewal letter can go a long way to making your members feel important. Personalizing doesn’t just mean putting their name in the top line. Recognize their involvement with your organization, thank them and let them know how their involvement makes your organization better.
Not all organizations have time to call or write to each member individually. However, you can still use form letters and add a personal touch. For example, you can create several form letters, one that speaks to committee members, another that speaks to volunteers, and another that speaks to those members who sign up and then seem to disappear. Then look at your member’s history and weave in 1-2 sentences at the beginning and end that speak to their involvement with your organization.
If you don’t have time to add a personal touch to the letters of all your members make sure to do it for your key members. In the case of my friend, she was someone who had attended many events, and introduced others into the organization. Adding a personal touch to her renewal letter would have let her know that the organization valued her contributions.
Recognize Your Member’s Contribution to Your Organization
Everyone wants to feel important and valued. Renewal letters offer a great opportunity for you to make your members feel like an important part of the organization. You can do this by making sure that the renewal letter recognizes your members importance to the organization. Here are a few simple sentences that can make a difference:
- Your membership has enabled us to accomplish so much this year.
- We could not have done it without you!
- Through the support of members like you we were able to …
Briefly Recap the Past Year and the Plans for the Next Year
Get your members excited about their membership by reminding them of your major accomplishments in the past year and how it benefited them. Then let them know what great things are coming the the new year.
When your organization does so many great things it can be difficult to be brief. However, it is important that you respect your member’s busy schedules by keeping the renewal letter short. So limit it to a few highlights that will remind them of what they have gained in the past and what you will be delivering in the upcoming year.
Renewal letters are just a small part of member retention but can play an important role. Give your members the incentive to renew by personalizing their renewal letters, recognizing their contribution to your organization, recapping the past year and sharing plans for the upcoming year.
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