Membership renewal letters are, as they sound, letters sent to existing participants in nonprofit membership programs. These letters ask the participants to re-up their support and stay in the program.
Membership Renewal Letter Tip #1: Get Personal
What Does “Get Personal” Mean?
For nonprofit organizations, your members are your most dedicated constituents. Not only do they give on a recurring basis and participate in engagement activities, but they set themselves apart by actually identifying themselves as part of your organization.
Since your members are so deeply invested in your nonprofit, it’s important to show the same level of respect and appreciation for them.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on your members through a management system, adding a personal touch is simple. Not only will you have your members’ names handy, but you’ll also have a list of the activities they participated in. Not to mention, recapping your members’ involvement (which we’ll delve into in the next section) can help you show them that they’re more than just a number.
By interacting with members in a personal way, you’re showing them that they’re not just a face in a crowd—they’re valued on an individual level!
Best Practices for Getting Personal in Membership Renewal Letters
An Accurate, Friendly Greeting
You should know your members well enough not to refer to them as “Dear Member,” so call them by their (correct!) first name. Use your database to ensure accuracy, and always double check to make sure the right letter is going to the right person.
A Personable Tone
This letter is more than just a formal invoice of members’ dues, so don’t fall into the trap of taking a transactional approach. Let your members know that you’re excited to have them contribute for another year, not just to receive their money!
A Short, Handwritten Note
If possible, have your membership director add a brief handwritten note to the end of the renewal letter. Especially if you’re a local organization or have interacted personally with this member before, adding a personal touch can go a long way.
Example of “Getting Personal” in a Membership Renewal Letter
Dear [Member’s First Name],
The time has come for you to renew your membership with [Organization]!
Membership Renewal Letter Tip #2: Take Your Members Down Memory Lane
What Does “Take Donors Down Memory Lane” Mean?
Before you launch into a request, take a paragraph to remind your members how far their membership fees have gone to further your organization’s cause and enrich their lives since their last renewal.
Look at it this way: your members have other expenses too, and they likely can’t afford to shell out membership fees for an organization that hasn’t given them their money’s worth. If they can’t remember what last year’s dues paid for, they definitely won’t see the point in signing up for another go-round!
To prevent that from happening, spend some time briefly recapping the value of their membership. If member stewardship has been a priority (and we hope that it has!), you’ll have no issue coming up with a highlight reel of all your membership program has done (and all your members have done for your membership program).
Best Practices for "Memory Lane" in Membership Renewal Letters
Focus on Impact on Your Cause or Community
Did you raise a record amount for your charity’s mission? Perhaps your members’ volunteer efforts had a radical effect on your community. Whatever the case, your nonprofit probably accomplished a lot last year with the help of your devoted members, so let them know you couldn’t do it without them.
Bring Up Member Engagement Activities
One of the strongest benefits to membership programs is the community they naturally foster. Your events and programs have likely worked to develop a supportive group of like-minded individuals, so make sure this benefit is at the front of your members’ minds.
Highlight Your Program’s Services and Opportunities
Does your membership program offer exclusive content or services for members? Don’t let them forget! Whether you had an educational speaker at your member get-together or hosted a conference, remind your donors how much your organization has helped them learn and grow this year.
Example of “Memory Lane” in a Membership Renewal Letter
Last year, your generous donation of [$$$] helped fund a number of efforts toward [cause or initiative], including:
- Successful advocacy initiative
- Fundraising event or volunteer opportunity
- Any other milestone you achieved
Membership Renewal Letter Tip #3: Understand the Urgency
What Does “Understand the Urgency” Mean?
As much fun as it is to rehash old times, you can’t avoid the purpose of your letter for long. By the second or third paragraph, it’s time to ask your members to renew their membership.
At this point in the letter, we can’t stress enough the importance of being to-the-point. If membership dues have increased since the last renewal period, tell your members directly. If you want to ask them to upgrade their membership level, quickly explain why and how. If you’re too vague, your members might think you’re hiding something from them, so just be clear from the start.
While you don’t want to be curt, you do want to stress that this is a matter best handled as soon as possible.
When members feel they can put off their renewal for a later date, it increases the odds that they won’t ever get around to renewing—and you can’t let that happen!
Best Practices for "Urgency" in Membership Renewal Letters
Include Your Application Form
Take away the guesswork by including a link to your membership application, or a paper copy if your renewal letters are sent by mail. For the best results, make sure your form is user-friendly and well-designed.
Make Renewals Easy
Membership management software can streamline the renewal process for both you and your members. Depending on your provider, you might even be able to include an automated renewal option on your application form or your website’s member portal.
Incentivize Early Renewal
If you’re having a hard time securing early or even on-time renewals, it might be time to up the ante. Though not realistic for every organization, providing benefits for those who take immediate action can seriously pay off. Consider offering a discount if members renew within two weeks of receiving their first renewal letter.
Example of “Urgency” in a Membership Renewal Letter
Please join our organization for another successful year by renewing your membership today. Attached, you’ll find a copy of our membership application form as well as a detailed invoice of your membership dues.
Membership Renewal Letter #4: Stay Gracious
What Does “Stay Gracious” Mean?
Remember the bottom line here: your members make your membership program possible. Without their contributions and involvement, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, so show them your gratitude as you ask for their renewal.
Throughout your letter, write with a tone of respect and thankfulness. Don’t ever be demanding!
Gratitude during the renewal period is a major step toward member retention in the long run. Start on the right foot this membership term by proving to your members how much you value them (and avoiding tricky membership engagement mistakes along the way).
Best Practices for "Gratitude" in Membership Renewal Letters
Close Your Letter With Sincerity
Gratefulness should be the last thing your members see in their member renewal letters. Don’t overdo it (and risk cheesiness), but do include a sincere line to reiterate how appreciative you are as you close your letter.
Keep Communication Open
By failing to include follow-up details for your organization, you’re assuming your members will renew without question. On the contrary, make sure they’re aware that your team is eager to answer any and all of their questions by providing relevant contact information, including a specific point person on your team.
Send a Thank-You Note
Instead of only automating an acknowledgement or receipt, you should send your member a personalized thank-you note as soon as possible. An email is fine, but a handwritten note from your membership director or a board member can reiterate your personal connection to your members.
Example of “Gratitude” in a Membership Renewal Letter
As always, we thank you for your continued dedication to our cause. We look forward to serving you for another year!
Membership Renewal Tip #5: Don’t Forget the Details
What Does “Don’t Forget the Details” Mean?
We can’t talk about effective membership renewal letters without discussing at least a few technical details!
The smallest elements can push your letter to the next level, so it is crucial to pay attention to all aspects of the letter, even the more technical ones.
The point is, don’t forget the minor details of your renewal letter, from timing to length.
Be thoughtful as you review your letter, and your members will appreciate the attention to detail.
Best Practices for "Detail" in Membership Renewal Letters
Keep It Concise
As you edit your letter with our tips in mind, you might see your letter growing and growing to include all the necessary elements. Keep in mind that your members are busy and don’t have time for long-winded letters! A page is plenty to get your message across, but definitely don’t got over a 2-page limit.
While we’ve only been referring to the membership renewal letter as a singular communication, don’t be fooled into thinking you can get away with sending only one request. Start sending renewal reminders as early as a few months before membership expiration. (Hint: your software can automate these reminders so you don’t have to keep up with them!)
Don’t Forget Lapsed Members
Have some members who missed the renewal window? Don’t let them lapse without sending a final reminder. This can be a good time to provide incentives, especially for long-time members.
Example of “Details” in a Membership Renewal Letter
[President or Board Chair’s Signature]
President or Board Chair
P.S. Don’t forget to include a handwritten note to your member in the margins!
Donation Request Letters
Are you looking to raise money for a cause, project, life event, or charity?
Donation request letters can be a traditional (yet effective!) way to ask companies and individuals for cash and in-kind donations as well as sponsorships. You can also use them as invitations to your fundraising event.
Click below to take a look at (and download!) our amazing donation request letter templates that will help you raise more money from individuals and local businesses.
How to Ask for Donations
Now that you’ve learned how to write different types of fundraising letters, you can learn even more techniques on how to ask for donations.
Soliciting gifts can be intimidating, but with a few strategies and some practice, you’ll be on you way to being an expert at asking for donations.
Read our in-depth guide for more assistance on how you can approach potential donors and the best methods to ask for donations for your fundraiser.
Writing Sponsorship Letters
Sponsorship letters are used by organizations who need help paying for larger fundraising campaigns or annual events.
Nonprofits, clubs, and schools offer perks to local businesses and individuals in exchange for donations. Each donor gives an amount that corresponds to a sponsorship level.
If you need help writing a sponsorship letter or a sponsorship levels document, don’t worry! We’ve got some awesome templates for you to use.
Membership Renewal Letters
Membership renewal letters are sent to those supporters whose memberships are about to expire or have recently expired.
The way you compose these letters is essential for encouraging members to rejoin your nonprofit, organization, or association! You have to show them how much their membership means to your mission and remind them of all the amazing benefits of membership.
Not sure where to start? Doubleknot has got you covered!