How To Reduce Member Churn This Renewal Season


When I first heard the term member churn, I pictured a giant butter churn, churning up a whole bunch of club members into whatever you make out of churned-up people; people butter? Anyway, it turns out that's not what member churn means. I know, who would have guessed? 

Member Churn or Membership Churn are fancy official terms for losing club or association members. Basically, it's the opposite of member retention. Obviously, losing club members is not a good thing and should be avoided at all costs. So, considering that many clubs have their membership renewals at the end of the financial year and that renewal time is often a time of increased churn, let's talk about how to reduce membership churn for your club. 

How To Calculate Member Churn

Calculating Member Churn is surprisingly easy, and that’s coming from me and my total inability to do math. The way to calculate member churn is very simple: you simply take the number of members you lost over a certain period of time, i.e., your membership renewal period. You then divide that number by the number of total members you had before that period of time. Finally, you multiply the answer to the previous question by 100. 

This will give you your member churn rate. 

How to calculate churn rate


In practice, that means that if you started off with 894 members but 76 members failed to renew their membership during your renewal period. You need to divide 76 by 894, which my calculator informs me equals 0.085. You then need to multiply that result of 0.085 by 100, which equals 8.5. This means you have a member churn of 8.5%. 

And that is how you calculate membership churn. 


Thank you meme


If you can go back over your last few years' numbers, you will be able to work out your club's historic membership churn rate. Definitely do this calculation at your upcoming membership renewals. Doing this is a great way to track the progress of your club and see what effect all your hard work is having on your churn rate. 

It's quite hard to give you guidelines on the churn rate to aim for, as the expected churn rate varies massively from industry to industry. So, take this with a massive grain of salt, but based on what I can find, your membership churn rate should definitely be under 30% and probably somewhere between 10% and 20%. However, this is a massive generalisation and will absolutely depend on the industry your club is in. 

What Causes Member Churn?

Membership churn is caused by a whole range of factors, but today, we are just going to talk about the five most common reasons. These are as follows: 

  1. Poor Event Quality And Variety
  2. Unclear Or Unmet Benefits
  3. Time Constraints
  4. Money Restrictions 
  5. Poor Communication

1. How Poor Event Quality & Variety Can Lead To Member Churn

It's no secret that good events are the cornerstone of any successful club. Having a good variety of high-quality club events is good for your club. Members like events and events are probably why they signed up to begin with. The point is that if you don't have enough events, enough variety of events, or good enough quality of events, then your members may become disillusioned with your club. 

To counter this, you need to ensure your club's events are relevant to your club and its members and that there is a good enough variety of events that they don't get bored. Now, for obvious reasons, I can't tell you what types of events you should be running because I'm not in your club; I don't know what your members want or need. However, I can point you in the right direction to figure it out for yourself. 

The best way to achieve this is to pay attention to what your members like and want. You can look at your event reporting widgets in the Member Jungle system to see which events are popular and which aren't. You can use your Poll Module to gauge how your members felt events went and what events they'd want in the future. Additionally, you should pay attention to the types of events similar clubs are running, as this can be a great way to gauge what kinds of events you could look at organising. Finally, you can simply walk up to members and ask them what they want. Obviously, this isn't a scalable solution, but it also can't hurt. 

what do you want meme


2. Unclear Or Unmet Benefits Club Benefits

Every club provides various benefits to its members. These may include discounted registration fees for a vintage car club, lessons for rock climbing clubs, advocacy reasons, CPD for medical associations, or just simply fun club events. These benefits are a significant reason why members continue to pay their dues. Members may not renew their membership if these benefits decline or go unnoticed.

To prevent issues, consistently provide your club's benefits and ensure members know them. Regularly check in with your members to confirm that the benefits are still effective and meeting their needs. 

This is also a good time to talk to your members and see how the benefits are working for them and if they would like anything to change. Consider running a focus group to find out which benefits members appreciate the most, and then use that information in the Poll Module to verify that the majority of members agree with the findings. 

This is a really great way to ensure that your members are aware of the benefits they are getting and that you're providing them with the benefits they want. 

For example, my rocking climbing club membership gets me a discount at the gear store and access to the club's weight room. Now, I would be genuinely annoyed if the store discount disappeared from my membership perks, but if the whole weight room burnt down, I wouldn't bat an eye.


house on fire meme


So, check in with your members and make sure you are providing them with the benefits they want and aren’t wasting time and money with stuff they don’t care about.

3. Losing Club Members Due To Time Constraints

In today's modern age, members are increasingly time-poor and have to really budget how they spend their limited time. In fact, according to a study by Griffith University, nearly 50% of Australians have or are planning to embark upon a side hustle, aka. Moonlighting.  

This means that chances are almost 50% of your members will have a primary job and a monetised hobby or secondary job on top of that. The point is that your members are balancing work, side hustles, travel, family time, social lives, sleep, and hobbies. This can put increased stress on members' schedules and cause them to step away from the hobby clubs they're associated with.

Now, obviously, your club can't magically solve your members' time crunch or need for side hustles and second jobs, but you can do everything you can to make your club as time-efficient as possible.   

By making things like membership renewals and events sign-ups online and as streamlined and time-efficient as possible, you reduce the chance that your club is the thing that is cut out by your time-poor members. 

If you want to get some tips on how to get the most out of your automated membership renewal system to ensure it is as effective and streamlined as possible, read 5 Things You Should Do To Get The Most Out Of Your Automated Membership Renewals

4. Losing Members Due To Money Restrictions 

It's no secret that times are a little tough at the moment. The cost of living is rising, and everyone is having to cut back. As soon as someone invites an AI bot that is equal parts child-like whimsy, black humour and hopelessly caffeine addicted, I'll be out on the breadline.  


watching flames meme


The point is that in times like this, people have to cut back, which may result in some members deciding they can no longer afford to be members of your club. While this is mostly outside your realm of control, there is still something you can do to minimise the number of members who leave your club due to financial strain. 

That thing is reminding your members of all the value and perks your club provides. Do not lower your membership fees/dues; instead, make sure everyone knows all the value they're getting for their fees. Showing them all the perks and value they're getting for their money is more likely to make them stay than dropping your prices. So show them all the reasons why your fees are more than worth it. 

Think about it: this is exactly what streaming services do; Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video don't lower their prices; they just advertise and reinforce all the great content that we are all hopelessly addicted to. Yes, we could save a bit more money each month, or we could see if those kids from Stranger Things ever stop being kidnapped by DND villains and keep watching the world's most serious car show. 


camel meme


So, don’t lower your prices; just reinforce to your members all the awesome stuff that you do that makes your membership fees more than worth it. 

Also, consider making your membership payments more flexible. If you introduce shorter membership terms, like six, three, or even one-month memberships, your members will be able to pay for their memberships in smaller, more manageable instalments rather than one big payment once a year. 

Speaking of which, this is exactly why we have just added the ability for you to enable Afterpay on your club’s site. This means that if you want, you can now allow your members to pay you via Afterpay, making big one-off purchases like annual memberships much more manageable.  

If you want to know more about how Afterpay can help your club, check out How Afterpay Can Help Your Club Survive These Trying Times

If you want to know more about pricing and why you may even need to raise your prices, please read Why Your Club Or Association Should Be Raising Its Prices In 2024

5. Losing Club Members Due To Poor Communication

One way your club can potentially start losing members is through poor communication with your members. If you have to repeatedly inform your members about specific things, if communication takes a long time, and there are always people who are feeling uninformed or behind schedule, then chances are your club's communication is ineffective. 

Now, members may be happy to tolerate poor communication and sometimes be left in the dark about upcoming events. However, during tough times when they are being more selective with how they spend their time and money, this poor communication could be the deciding factor between them renewing their memberships and leaving your club. So, ensuring that your communication is fast, accurate and effective is a great way to help reduce the amount of member churn your club experiences. 

If you are already a Member Jungle customer, you have already taken the first big step towards improving your communication with your members. From this point, you should consider how you can further improve on the things you've already implemented. For example, how can you improve your email communication and newsletters, or how can you get more people using the app so that communication can be even more effective? 

For more information on either of those points, please read 5 Ways To Get More Of Your Members Using The Member Jungle App and 5 Steps To Write A Club Newsletter Your Members Will Love To Read.

If you aren't a Member Jungle customer, you should probably look at some of the ways Member Jungle can help your club in general and how it can help your club improve its communication with its members. 

So, for more information on how Member Jungle can help you improve your communication with your members, read the rather obviously named How To Improve Your Club's Communication With Its Members. If you want to learn more about Member Jungle in general, then check out How Does Member Jungle's Membership Management System Work?

The Next Step In Reducing Member Churn?

So, we have covered the main 5 reasons why members fail to renew their memberships and what you can do to fix them. Now, you need to get out there and start making those important changes. 

If you want to read even more about losing club members, then read How To Stop Losing Club Members.

While talking about the number of club members you have, why not look at The 5 Best Ways To Recruit More Members To Your Club


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