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Membership Retention Strategies for Healthcare Associations

A doctor overlaid by the title of the article, which is “Membership Retention Strategies for Healthcare Associations.


Membership retention provides organizational stability and enhances their reputation, making it a vital component of a thriving healthcare association. More importantly, the ability to boost membership renewals allows associations to provide relevant resources for members, better care for patients, and valuable support for healthcare providers.

To achieve this, your association must employ effective retention strategies that engage members. This guide covers the top membership retention strategies your healthcare association can put into practice.

Nail down your distinct audience 

Members commit to your association for various reasons, such as enhancing their resume, bolstering their LinkedIn profile, or connecting with like-minded professionals. Attract and retain high-achieving members by understanding their interests and making clear the benefits they’ll receive by being a part of your association.

Position your association as a valuable resource to meet members’ needs by clearly outlining your association’s purpose and vision. For example, consider how The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics describes its vision, mission, and member composition:

  • Vision: A world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition
  • Mission: Accelerate improvements in global health and well-being through food and nutrition
  • Member composition: Approximately 72% of the Academy’s members consist of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and 2% are nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered (NDTRs). Other members include allied health professionals, educators, researchers and students. More than half of all Academy members hold advanced academic degrees.

Given the context of your organization’s goals and member composition, members can remain confident that the association is the right community for them. Additionally, understanding who your members are will help you continually deliver services and offerings that they’re interested in and find helpful.

Deliver value-added benefits and services

Using your knowledge about members’ motivations, provide value-added benefits that persuade members to renew, such as:

  • Continuing education opportunities: Dedicated webinars and virtual events are powerful resources for enabling members to deepen their understanding of a topic. For example, if your association is branching out into healthcare technology, you may offer an intro to basic healthcare analytics management.
  • Exclusive resources and tools: Equip members with resources such as research reports, case studies, and industry insights. This way, your association will support members’ work and decision-making. 
  • Discounted vendor partnerships: Partner with vendors whose products and services align with your association’s vertical to secure discounts for your members. When looking for a vendor, Arcadia recommends studying a vendor’s services and reputation, and then scheduling personalized demos to see the software in action.

Offer a wide range of services and benefits to meet the diverse needs of your members. Frequently soliciting member feedback can also be beneficial for learning about members’ unmet needs and which benefits your association lacks. 

Facilitate engagement opportunities

Beyond offering benefits, your healthcare association should encourage members to interact with each other to improve retention. Cultivate a thriving community with dedicated engagement opportunities that keep members coming back, such as:

  • Networking events: Facilitate meaningful connections among members through networking events such as conferences or workshops. 
  • Mentorship and leadership development: Establish a mentorship program to offer newcomers the ability to learn from experienced members. Also, provide leadership roles for members, such as serving on committees or the board of directors. 
  • Online forums: Solicit member feedback through surveys or online polls to learn more about their experiences and priorities. 

As members achieve milestones through their engagement with your association, celebrate their successes with awards and recognition programs. According to Double the Donation’s donor recognition guide, appropriate recognition is a key element of relationship-building. By recognizing members’ involvement, your healthcare association can foster a sense of pride and belonging among members, encouraging them to remain loyal to your organization. 

Leverage digital tools

User-friendly tools encourage members to explore resources and take full advantage of your offerings, which increases their engagement in your organization. Enhance the member experience by embracing technology and digital tools such as:

  • Virtual event platforms: Use innovative tools to manage events so that registration and participation are seamless. Such tools also provide access to crucial event information for attendees, such as the schedule or relevant contact information. 
  • Membership management software: Implement a membership management platform to make it easy for members to start, renew, and manage their memberships. 
  • Data analytics tools: Choose platforms that members can use to explore insights for enhanced workflow opportunities in the industry. For example, population health software might offer insights to measure the impact of preventive solutions on predefined groups.
  • Online learning management systems (LMS): Utilize a comprehensive learning platform that offers educational resources such as training courses or certification programs. This tool empowers members to engage in self-paced learning. 

Leveraging membership software can also streamline your association’s operations by managing member engagement through automated communications and collaborative tools. Members who have a positive experience with your healthcare association are more likely to stay dedicated.

Simplify the renewal process

Through the duration of an individual’s membership, your association can employ these strategies to engage and guide them. However, membership retention hinges on a member’s willingness to complete the renewal process. Simplify your association’s renewal process in the following ways to encourage renewals:

  • Simplify payment: Offer flexible payment methods and a user-friendly portal to make the renewal process widely accessible.
  • Monitor metrics: Using membership management software, analyze renewal metrics such as revenue and retention rates to identify areas for improvement.
  • Enable automatic renewals: To make renewing more convenient, allow members to opt-in to automatic renewals upon joining the association or renewing an existing membership. 

Although certain tools can streamline renewal, don’t underestimate the power of member stewardship. Send personalized and meaningful requests for renewal to make members feel uniquely valued by your association. When crafting membership renewal letters, be sure to convey a sense of urgency and incentivize renewal with personalized additional benefits if possible. 

Member retention is essential to a thriving healthcare association. To increase your retention rates, offer enticing benefits and foster meaningful relationships with members. Remember to frequently show your appreciation for their involvement throughout their membership to further cultivate a loyal membership community.

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