How to Stop a Member from Leaving Your Member Based Nonprofit
As we mentioned in our last post, a lot of Nonprofits have just started a new Fiscal year. Typically during this period you see drop off from member based Nonprofits. It is a natural trend. People either don't see the value anymore, they are finding it hard to afford, whatever the reason may be- they are deciding not to be a paying member anymore. In previous years, while the deficit was seen, there were still new members coming in, which evened out the losses from a financial stand point.
This year is different. Many membership based Nonprofits are panicking.
Due to Covid-19, a lot of people worldwide are facing financial insecurity and we are being bold enough to say, they are losing interest in certain things while they are virtual. While many Nonprofits are receiving some sort of loan from their local or the Federal Government, what does that mean if you are losing the value of your Nonprofit? The members. That loss is hard to swallow. We specialize in building long-term relationships between Nonprofits and their members, so we are going to give you some advice compiled by our experts.
A lot of Nonprofits who have seen steady membership (pre Covid-19 as well), have connections with their members. Whether it is a connection with your mission, or a connection facilitated by your Nonprofit, it is important to always nurture that. Ways to nurture and check in with your members include:
- Making phone calls
- Emailing members (individually, not in bulk)
- Texting (as long as both parties are okay with this)
- Keeping up with members on social media (from your organization's page or your personal page)
- Seeing up a FaceTime, or Zoom call for a social event such as coffee, game night, study sessions, etc.
- Maintaining programs, but virtually. Keep up with the regular programing your members look forward to.
This is going to be something that a lot of Nonprofits will start to see, if they haven't already. Many people have lost their jobs, been placed on furlough, losing their businesses, etc. So, they need to allocate the funds that were once used to pay their membership, to providing for themselves or families. This is so understandable, and as Nonprofits we have that sense of empathy. We also know that we value each of our members.
So, find some sort of middle ground. Here are some ways to find that middle ground:
- Put the member on a payment plan. Whether they are paying $50 a month, or $200 a month, do what feels right for your organization and that member.
- Instead of paying with money, pay with services. Some ideas for this are using this person to lead programs, help with simple tasks that this person can be trusted with, or helping to promote your events, fundraisers, etc.
- Pay per event. If someone wants to remain involved, but isn't able to pay monthly, or doesn't want to pay with services, it is perfectly okay to agree upon a number per event that feels best for each of you.
This is a huge loss organizations are seeing when it comes to making these connections while in Zoom land. Whether programming feels heavier on the kids end, or heavier on the adults end, one group is feeling unconnected. The simple solution: balance your programs.
When making decisions about reopening, or programs moving forward, a survey is a great way to involve members. Even though we suggested reaching out to each individual, there will be people who inevitably won't get to connect individually. It could be a lack of not returning calls, a wrong number, an emailing bouncing, whatever it may be, these people still deserve to be heard. A survey is the perfect way to have voices heard. Surveys also create buy-in. Those who take the time to answer your survey are likely then to feel invested and engaged. They may even feel so excited they offer to help with upcoming programs.
No, this doesn't mean tell your members your Nonprofit's deepest financial secrets. This means continue to be honest with members. Let them know how your Nonprofit staff is doing, board is doing, what are struggles, what are the great things that are happening. The biggest ally to a Nonprofit's marketing right now is honesty.