7 Steps for Moving to an Online Membership Renewal Process

Categories: Association Leadership, Association Operations, Chambers of Commerce, Finance and Operational Efficiency, Guest Bloggers, User Experience


Welcome, iATS Payments, as a WebLink Guest Blogger! Learn all about iATS and meet their team at the 2017 WebLink Summit.


Does your association accept online payments? If it does, you’re already one step ahead of the pack – so long as you ensure your members’ financial data is secure through certified payment processing! To take it a step further, more and more organizations are working toward being completely “paperless.” Doing so creates a more streamlined renewal process, gives your staff some much needed time back in their day, and cuts costs on printing and postage – all while making renewal quicker and easier for members! However, launching an online renewal process should be done tactfully. Keep reading for seven tips for creating a process to easily renew memberships online year after year!

Communicate the Change via Email

1. Test Test Test
Different payment options, different subject lines, different senders. The way an email is structured resonates differently with everyone! Start with the next quarter’s renewals, and choose one thing to test. Then, refine future communications based on the results.

2. Story Matters
The more details about why you’re moving your online renewal process, the better. Beyond the ways your organization will benefit, just think – what is most important to the type of member I am emailing? Try segmenting messages to different audiences, depending on what would be the most compelling to that group.

3. Then, Track
You need to know where the renewal is coming from to know what works! Make note of what you’re testing and with who before communications begin, and track each test or segment’s engagement as you go.

Managing the Process

4. Include a Renewal Option on Your Website
Duplicate your message on your website – but keep it simple! Members appreciate a quick process, and it gives them one less barrier toward renewing again. Make some fields optional, limit your form to one page and create clear steps to avoid confusion.

5. Be Mobile Friendly
Just think about how often you open an email on your phone and click thru to a link, only to immediately close it because the page is too hard to read. Responsive design doubles interaction on mobile devices! Pro tip: to really make an impact on overall engagement, make sure your entire website is mobile responsive!

6. Add a Renewal Button to Every Page on Your Site
Make it bold and easy to see, yet subtle. This button will serve as a reminder that they can renew at any time, through your easy online renewal process!

7. Make Your Goal Visual
Do you have a renewal goal? Why not share that with your membership! Whether through a thermometer or bar chart, research shows a visual representation of what you’re working toward improves your chances of reaching and exceeding that goal. Show your members the kind of impact they’re making!

Once you have that online renewal process down, think about all the other things you could use online payments for! Fundraising, sponsorships, donations, eCommerce…the possibilities are endless. And when you have a partner like iATS, those endless possibilities are also secure. For more tips and online payment best practices, visit the iATS Payments blog.

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