Retaining members isn’t merely keeping members. It’s keeping members involved and keeping them inspired. Retention isn’t simply keeping members coming, either. It’s keeping them coming back for more. And while that “more” may be different for each constituent—from volunteer opportunities to child care to spin class—your mission is a constant, the driver behind everything you do. You know this. But do your members?
According to our YMCA Trends and Opportunities Survey 2012, developing initiatives to connect members to your mission will play a major role in your retention efforts this year. Connected members are far more likely to be retained—and they also give of their time and give to your programs. Theses are the folks who work out every morning, are the first to sign up for programs, and like you in person and on Facebook. They are your association’s biggest fans, and you want and need more of them, right? Consider starting at the source—encourage your fans to recruit even more fans.
Find Out What Connected Members Love About You—And Take Action
Chances are, even if a member enters your facility every single day, he may not be able to clearly articulate your mission or even be aware of all that it encompasses. But, if he’s connected, he can probably do better.
When we met up with Andrea Toney, Connections Director (don’t you just love that title?) at the Blue Springs Family YMCA in Kansas City, we knew we’d hear great things about the strides in membership being made at the Y. We didn’t, however, expect to hear them from Andrea and from Matt, a volunteer, coach, and member at the Y who jumped at the chance to speak on his Y’s behalf.
How do you identify the Matts at your association—those people who just can’t quit talking about you, and who so well articulate what it means to be connected to the mission of the Y?
Consider asking members the simple questions we asked Matt, record their stories—think video, audio, or print—and post them on your Y walls and on your Facebook wall.
• What do you love about the Y?
• How did you come to be involved at the Y?
• What does the Y mean to you and to your family?
• Why is the Y important in your community?
• What would you tell your friends about the Y?