The Importance of Retaining Members

 Part one of a three-part series: 

Putting First Things First: Formulating & Applying a Member Retention Strategy

“It’s easier to keep a member than find a new one.” It’s a cliché … because it’s true. For your Toastmasters club, area, division and district to grow, a steady stream of new members is needed, but so is a plan — applied continuously and successfully — to retain existing members. This article is intended to help you, as a District 25 Toastmasters leader, work with your club(s) to boost member retention.

Member retention is a key performance indicator of how well we’re meeting the needs of our members. At all levels of our operations (club, area, division and district), we should certainly be examining our member retention statistics and comparing our results to previous years. At this point in the current Toastmasters year, we still have an unusually large number of members (more than 800) who didn’t renew club memberships when they came due at the end of September.

Understand the Challenge

The reason why retention is important becomes clear when you consider the analogy of water being poured into a leaky bucket. There’s limited value in recruiting members until you know why members leave and put resources behind obvious ways of encouraging vulnerable members to stay. Existing members simply want to feel there are one or more reasons to stay a member. It’s our job, collectively, to ensure that each member can easily identify the reason(s) that matter enough to justify the relatively low cost of participation in a program for which there’s no true competitive alternative and which can have life-changing benefits. (For proof of this, see our D25 testimonials.)

Unfortunately, there can be few or even no opportunities to talk with individual members about their club experiences within the constraints of club meetings. So it’s necessary for the club, and especially its leaders, to set aside time for a “check in” process with each member. Are they getting what they need from the club and the Toastmasters program? Find out! Ideally, you would do so before a member faces the deadline for renewing membership — or worse, when the grace period for membership renewal is imminent or has expired. In any case, if you have not spoken with members at risk of leaving, do it as soon as you can.

Dean Lampman

Lt. Governor Marketing

Note: This article incorporates material from multiple online sources, especially an article posted by The Center for Association Leadership.

The entire article is available as a printer-friendly PDF file.


by Jodie Sanders