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Newsletter Article [Membership] [06/01/11]
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Kay Wilson, SPHR - Membership Director

My dues are due? Already?? 

When it comes to membership retention, the basics are sometimes overlooked in favor of the latest, newest and greatest ideas. Yes, membership in your local chapter is the best possible way to stay connected and network with the greatest minds in Human Resources in your area! Yes, the SHRM website is one of the best on-line resources for current information, research, opinions, and announcements! Yes, the HR Florida State Council Inc. offers one of the best state conferences in the country! So why don’t more people retain their membership in their local chapters? The answer may be even more basic and simple than you ever expected. Let me give you a very good (and very personal) example:

In addition to my current HR Florida responsibilities as your Membership Director, I am also the current Membership Chair for my home chapter, Lake Sumter SHRM. Part of my responsibility includes monitoring the current membership roster for dues, certifications and positions within the members’ respective businesses. This time, I had about ten or so members who had not yet submitted their dues for the year (we use a calendar year so it’s much easier to track). I decided that I should try sending out one of those uncomfortable but necessary gentle reminders that someone’s dues haven’t been received yet. I was amazed at the number of folks who had forgotten, who didn’t realize that their accounting department hadn’t yet submitted the check, and even that there was one that didn’t make it through an on-line payment system. By making sure to send out those gentle reminders, we found three members who didn’t realize they were as of yet unpaid. I wonder how many chapters don’t do the simple follow up with members? 

telephoneMarty Bryson, the current Secretary for the Executive Council, also had this suggestion: when you have a definitive list of members who have not yet paid their dues, split up the list into smaller lists for those large chapters and share the list among the chapter Board members. A simple phone call to see if they are electing to renew this year may have the same result—many times the member is unaware the dues is unpaid, and if you don’t ask, you may lose a member unintentionally. 

So, now that you have contacted your list of former members who have elected not to renew, what is the next step? Are you finished with them? As with any business, the relationship doesn’t end with the final paycheck. It goes beyond that—you conduct exit interviews and follow-ups at work, so why should the membership be any different. Hopefully, a skillfully crafted exit interview will help identify any recurring issues, any potential danger zones, and any trends that may affect your chapter membership. By carefully monitoring your chapter numbers, you can identify any issues before they become major problems for the chapter. Additionally, you also have a state organization that may benefit from your experience, and who will also serve as a resource when you are faced with issues that others have tackled and defeated!

Image by Trace Meek

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