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Membership Form Best Practices for Enrollment and Renewals

9 min read
May 23, 2022
Sam Nyland headshot
Sam Nyland
Product Marketing Manager

Membership forms are a big deal. Your enrollment form is one of the very first interactions you have with a potential new member, and your renewal experience will be an important touchpoint if they choose to stay engaged long term.

Building membership forms that make the enrollment and renewal processes simple—maybe even enjoyable—is an important way to grow your constituent base.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can optimize your membership forms for both new and returning members.

What to Include on Membership Forms

Your members should be able to complete your forms quickly and easily. Spending a lot of time filling out a form is no one’s idea of a good time!

Give your members an enjoyable, hassle-free experience by building a form that’s both visually pleasing and easy to complete.

If you’re building a new membership form (or if you’re updating a form you already have!), try:

  • Using modern, branded themes. Create a form that matches your branding and aesthetics. This will give new and returning members alike a more enjoyable experience!
Three membership forms with unique branding
Try including your organization’s color scheme, logo, or other branding elements to create a seamless application experience for your members.
  • Keeping your form short and simple. Splitting your membership form into multiple short steps makes the application process feel easier and less complicated. It can also help your applicants move more easily through the process without getting frustrated or overwhelmed.
  • Leaving space for static content. While you’re building your membership forms, include space for content that describes the benefits of being a member. You may also want to share how funds help support your mission. 
  • Adding membership types or levels and their fees. List these in a clear and concise manner and allow for easy selection.
This membership form contains six different membership levels at different price points
The easier it is for your members to find their preferred option, the more likely they’ll be to complete the application process.
  • Eliminating non-essential fields. You may need to ask for things like work experience, company affiliation, committee commitments, or any one of a hundred other topics. That said, it’s important to build membership forms that don’t feel arduous or overwhelming. Ensure that every field you include on your membership forms is necessary and eliminate those that aren’t.
  • Allowing popular payment methods. You’ll increase your form’s conversion rate if you let your new members pay with their preferred method. Try offering options like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay that appear to users based on their browser and device.
  • Creating a QR code. Are you using Neon CRM for Associations? You can instantly generate a QR code that will direct constituents to your form! Then, you can include that code on any membership marketing materials you send your constituents.

Take some time to create membership forms that look nice, make people excited about becoming a member, and make the enrollment or renewal process easy. Your constituents will thank you!

On the hunt for a CRM? Considering Wild Apricot? Click on this image to explore our side-by-side comparison to see which platform would be best for your organization.
On the hunt for a CRM? Considering Wild Apricot? Click on this image to explore our side-by-side comparison to see which platform would be best for your organization.

What Information Should I Collect on My Membership Forms?

To make sure you stay engaged with new members and build relationships with current ones, you’ll need to craft a membership form that invokes excitement around joining and gives you the information you’ll need to stay in touch with members.

One way to do that is to make sure you include the right fields and questions on your form. Here are three great places to start:

  • Personal information. Ask members for their birthday! When you have that information, you can easily create an automated email that will be sent on their special day. This is a great way to show your members you care about them. 
  • Professional or personal interests. Ask members about their professional and personal interests, too. You can use that information to better understand who your members are and what’s important to them. This is especially useful for associations that focus on professional development, hobbies, or other affiliations.
  • Specific membership information. Does your organization have chapters, committees, regions, or task forces? If so, you’ll need to collect specific member information during the application process. That information will allow for easy audience segmentation in the future. 
  • Communication preferences. Ask members what information they want to receive from your organization and how they’d like to receive it. You can use that information when communicating with them about their membership.
  • Renewal preferences. Give new members the option to automatically renew their membership! This is a great way to cut down on lapsed memberships, and it can save your constituents the time and effort of renewing their commitment to your organization.

It’s important to collect this type of information during the membership application process! Once you have it, you can strategically use this data to build great relationships with your members.

This is a screenshot of the Neon CRM for Associations interface people use to create membership forms. In this instance, someone has added a field asking members for their communication preferences. Members can choose from a drop-down menu that includes text, email, mail, and phone.
Use carefully chosen custom fields to collect valuable information about your members, including things like their birthdays and communication preferences.

Show Your Members Some Love with Personalization

Returning members are some of your most valuable constituents. Celebrate them! Aside from making them feel good about continuing their membership, you can also help reduce confusion during the renewal process.

Neon CRM for Associations can help. The system includes a member portal your constituents can use to manage their own memberships, which gives them personal control over their payment method, membership level, and other important factors. 

You can also enable Email OAuth to personalize the membership renewal process. With these tools, your member can log into their account or click “Renew Now” from your organization’s membership renewal email. Then, they can easily renew or upgrade their membership without having to enter their contact information.

Returning members will also be able to see their current or lapsed membership level, which makes it easier for them to navigate the membership level options you’ve included on your form.

Adding personalization elements to your membership forms will result in retaining your members year after year. Returning members represent a consistent revenue stream! Keep the following best practices at the top of your mind when building your renewal strategy.

Membership Renewal Best Practices

Build these strategies into your membership renewal campaign! When you do, you’ll encourage your constituents to renew their membership for another year.

  • Provide a modern and easy membership renewal experience. Your members should be able to quickly and easily renew their membership. Our membership renewal forms will curate the enrollment process for returning members, making the renewal process easy and worry-free.
  • Reach out to members about renewal at the right time and through the right channels. Try reaching out to your members by email, phone, direct mail—maybe all three! This is why it’s important to ask members how they’d like to receive communications during their initial application process.
  • Ask questions to make sure members feel that they are benefiting from their membership. This helps to build the relationship you’ve established with your constituents. It also provides insightful information you can use in future campaigns.

Your staff will save time with an automated and personalized member renewal plan. With a little planning and the correct tools in place, you’ll spend less time behind the computer and more time building meaningful relationships. 

Tips and Tricks for an Effective Renewal Strategy

Let technology do most of the work for you! An easy way to support your renewal strategy is to give members the option to auto-renew their membership. You can also spend time using our built-in member analytics and widgets to understand who your members are and how you can engage them. A data-driven renewal plan will save you time, which you can use to grow your member relationships through phone calls or personal emails.

This is a screenshot of a membership form for an organization called Associated Artists. After someone chooses their membership level and before they move on to the payment information, members have the option to auto-renew their membership.
Simply adding the option to auto-renew a membership can save time and hassle for both you and your constituents.

How to Use Neon Membership’s Renewal Plan Feature

Our tools make it easy for you to create a renewal process that’s easy for your members to use. Here’s how to use them.

  • Enable Email Link Authentication in your system. When a member with an existing Neon account clicks on an enrollment link in an email, this feature automatically directs them to the constituent version of your membership form. This saves your members the step of logging in or re-entering personal information. This will also help prevent duplicate accounts.
  • Set up an automated system email or letter to members telling them their membership will expire soon. Craft “membership due” and “membership overdue” emails or letters that are triggered based on a membership expiration date. Use the scheduler to create as many schedules as needed for your desired series of reminders. For example, try scheduling a notice that is sent when a membership expires in 30 days, then a second email that is sent a week before expiration.
  • Include a QR code on your physical renewal letter or within your membership renewal packet. Offer your members a quick, easy way to renew instantly with their smartphone and popular payment methods.
Adding a QR code to your membership renewal packet makes it easy for members to find your form and complete the process.
  • Build the relationship with a phone call: Remember how you gathered insight into your member’s communication preferences? Use that information to pull a list of all members due to expire and the best way to reach them. For example, you can identify members set to expire within 30 days who prefer to communicate by phone. From there, you can reach out to each member via phone call.

Looking for more ways to retain your members? This article includes six strategies (and examples!) you can use to encourage renewals.

Create Effective Membership Forms with Neon CRM for Associations

The main goal for any member-driven organization is to grow and sustain its membership base over time. To do that, you’ll need membership forms that give your constituents a seamless process that is inviting, easy, and transparent. 

Neon CRM for Associations has you covered for both your online and offline registration strategies. It’s easy to create personalized forms your members will love, and our membership analytics, automated system emails, and workflows make it easier to engage your constituents.

Interested in seeing how easy it is to set up your membership forms? Take a self-guided tour of the form builder! Click here to see the tool in action.

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