Managing The Retention Process – Is Your Renewal At The Best Time?
Clubs know that to ask members for their subscription in winter is not the best of ideas. However, January is still by some margin the most popular monthly renewal date.
Changing that month to something more palatable such as April or preferably the middle of the summer seems fraught with concerns but really doesn’t have to be.
There are several ways that you can deal with this, depending on your current renewal month and how far you want to move it. There are even ways of totally moving away from one annual renewal date to a month of joining process.
Benefits of changing
If your current renewal month is January then the preference has to be moving it to a spring or preferably a key summer month such as June. At this time the golf season is in full swing; golfers are playing more and participating in competitions. A renewal notice at this point seems better value than getting it in the height of winter when they may not have played for months and are still facing a lengthy lay-off.
An additional benefit for the golf clubs is that people tend to pay quicker when they are playing regularly, may be competing in weekly competitions and therefore know they must be fully paid up or face expulsion from the events.
Preparing for change
Don’t underestimate how long this may take. It may be part of your constitution that you need a member vote to make such a switch and therefore you may be planning more than 18 months in advance. Explain the reasons to the membership as they hate change and even if you think it’s a good idea they need to know why.
Spreading the financial burden
In some cases clubs have asked members to pay 18 months in advance, so switching their next renewal period to June. However, for many golf clubs there is concern over this. It is best to offer as many ways and variations of payments as you can:
- 18 months in advance but offer a deal for early payment e.g. two months free
- Pay six months and then receive a renewal notice for 12 months in June. Two lots of admin and asking the question twice but at least you will ask in the summer
- Leave members the option of staying where they are if they prefer to. Some will opt to do that, so why upset them
- Offer the option of paying by direct debit. Every club should be doing this anyway
Changing your renewal month isn’t as onerous as it may sound. Once you have made the switch then it’s done, and you can move on safe in the knowledge that the next time you ask for money the sun should be shining and they will be enjoying their membership in the peak golfing season.