If you’re responsible for member retention, you have your renewal rate committed to memory, right? You are most likely doing everything you should — calculating your retention rate on a regular basis, being consistent in your retention formula and sharing results with key stakeholders. But are you truly leveraging that information? Are you using it to increase revenue and lower costs per renewal?

Retention rates aren’t one dimensional. Many factors are important to consider: tenure, type of membership, demographics, how the member was acquired, how the member is engaging with your association, and more. Analyzing this data is challenging as it typically resides in multiple systems (e.g. your AMS, event registration system, your community platform, even spreadsheets). While wrangling all of this data into one place for analysis can be quite the challenge, it’s worth figuring out how to do it.

By looking at retention data from different views, you can really start to test some of your assumptions, make more informed decisions, and take action. Consider the following when looking at retention:


You know that your first-year members have a high hurdle for renewals. At the same time, your analysis might show that members who attend your annual conference have a high renewal rate. Armed with that information, you might run a test to offer first year members a discount at the annual conference, and then see if that segment’s retention rate improves. You may find that the slight hit to registration revenue is well offset by the longer-term increase in dues and product sales they bring by staying with your association for years to come.


Acquisition Channel

Spend your money wisely! It’s not just about acquiring new members, it’s also about keeping them. Initially, a campaign may look successful based solely on acquisition numbers. However, that’s not the entire picture as renewals need to be factored in. By tracking the retention rate of members who joined via different channels, even down to a campaign level, you’ll be able to refine your marketing budget to spend your dollars more efficiently.


After looking at the analytics, you discover members who engage with your community renew at a higher rate. Knowing this, you can revamp your onboarding communications to highlight the community as a top member benefit. Getting new members engaged in your community will yield long term benefits by way of improved retention. Additionally, this data can help you justify additional investment in your community.

Demographic/Career Info

Perhaps you anecdotally think your executive level members are renewing at a higher rate but in reality, they are not. By viewing retention rates by position, you can identify which segments need extra attention to improve their chance for renewal. In the executive example, you might develop new content focused on executive level needs or create a focus group of executives to get a sense for what is most important to them.

Membership Type

If you look at renewals by membership type, you can quickly see if one type is more apt not to renew than others. You can easily identify your leaky bucket, find the hole and patch it. This data can also help your sales team narrow which target market segments make the best long-term members.

Ultimately, member retention is more than just a number. Thinking about retention at a granular level will help you make more data-informed, strategic decisions for your association. Hundreds of associations are able to do this by using our data analytics platform, Acumen. It helps eliminate data wrangling and brings together all an association’s data in one place so they can visualize, analyze and act upon it. Schedule a demo to learn more.

Or you can check out the “how-to” webinar about this topic here.