In this ultimate guide to membership retention strategies for sports organisations and National Governing Bodies (NGBs), we delve into the core principles and dynamic strategies essential for maintaining a robust member base.

From understanding the significance of member retention to exploring practical methods for improving it, we equip you with the insights and tools necessary to foster long-term engagement and loyalty within your community.

What is member retention?

Member retention is about how well an organisation can keep its members engaged and committed over the long haul. This is crucial for sports organisations and NGBs because it helps foster a vibrant and successful sports community. Typically, organisations develop specific strategies to enhance the member experience and build stronger relationships with them. The main aim of these strategies is to boost member engagement and loyalty, ultimately leading to the organisation's overall success.

Why is member retention important?

Member retention is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it directly impacts revenue and financial sustainability. Retaining members means more consistent revenue streams through membership fees, event registrations, merchandise purchases, and more. 

Secondly, retention is a barometer of member satisfaction and organisational health. High retention rates indicate positive member experiences, while low retention rates may indicate dissatisfaction or disengagement. Additionally, retaining existing members is typically more cost-effective than acquiring new members, making retention strategies a prudent investment for long-term growth (although NGBs certainly shouldn’t forget about member acquisition).

READ MORE: 7 Dynamic Strategies to Attract Members to Your Sport

Member retention rates for sports organisations

Retention rates vary across sports organisations and NGBs, and can be influenced by factors such as the nature of the sport, organisational structure, member demographics, and the quality of member experiences. While there's no universal benchmark for retention rates, organisations should aim for rates that exceed industry averages and align with their growth objectives. 

Positive retention indicators include high member engagement, consistent participation in events and other initiatives, positive member feedback, and recurring membership renewals. By analysing retention data and understanding member behaviours, NGBs can establish realistic retention goals and implement targeted strategies to achieve them.

How to maintain high member retention rates

Maintaining high member retention rates requires a proactive approach centred on understanding member needs, addressing pain points, and continuously improving the membership experience. 

By adopting effective retention strategies, organisations can enhance member satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term engagement. From personalised communication to loyalty rewards and community-building initiatives, NGBs have a range of strategies at their disposal to bolster retention rates and foster a thriving community.

9 tested methods for retaining members effectively

Ensure clarity

Clear communication is fundamental to successful membership retention strategies. NGBs must ensure that members have easy access to relevant information, resources, and support channels. By providing clear guidelines, FAQs, and user-friendly platforms, NGBs can empower members to navigate their membership journey with confidence and clarity.

Offer flexible or tiered memberships

Flexibility is key to meeting the diverse needs and preferences of members. Offering tiered memberships allows members to select plans that align with their interests, budget, and lifestyle. By providing flexibility in pricing, benefits, and membership terms, NGBs can cater to a broader audience and enhance member satisfaction and retention.

Provide a human touch

Personalised interactions play a crucial role in member retention. Sports organisations should prioritise direct communication channels and personalised interactions to understand and address individual member needs and concerns. By fostering meaningful relationships and demonstrating genuine care for members, organisations can build trust within their community.

Reward loyalty

Recognising and rewarding member loyalty is essential for fostering a sense of appreciation and belonging within the community. Offering exclusive perks, discounts, and rewards programmes incentivises members to renew their memberships and remain actively engaged. By acknowledging and celebrating member loyalty, NGBs can strengthen member relationships and increase retention rates.

Tailor unique content

Delivering engaging, exclusive, and valuable content to members enhances the value of membership and encourages ongoing engagement. Sports organisations can offer premium content such as educational resources, behind-the-scenes insights, and exclusive event access to reward members and keep them invested. Additionally, organisations can tailor content to target specific member interests and preferences, which can deepen member engagement and strengthen retention.

Personalise member experiences

Personalisation is key to creating memorable and impactful member experiences. By leveraging member data and insights to tailor communications and recommendations based on individual preferences and behaviours, NGBs can deliver personalised experiences, strengthen emotional connections, drive member engagement, and foster loyalty and advocacy within their community.

Be transparent

For any sports organisation, transparency builds trust and credibility within their community. It is crucial to be clear about membership terms, benefits, and strategic decisions to foster open communication and accountability. By providing clear and honest information, organisations can enhance member satisfaction and strengthen trust, which contributes significantly to improved retention rates.

Create a sense of community

Building a sense of community allows members to feel more valued by their governing body, and more passionate about contributing to the long-term success and sustainability of their sport, ultimately driving member retention and loyalty. Events, membership perks, diversity and inclusion programmes, and community-building initiatives such as forums, social events, and member-exclusive groups encourage increased connectivity throughout an NGB’s member base. By nurturing a vibrant and supportive community, NGBs can create a compelling value proposition for members and significantly increase retention rates.

Continue evolving

A commitment to innovation and adaptation is essential for NGBs to stay relevant and meet evolving member needs and expectations. NGBs should embrace new technologies, trends, and industry best practices to enhance their membership experience and drive retention. By staying agile and responsive to member feedback and industry trends, NGBs can position themselves more effectively for long-term success and sustainability.

Book a Demo

We could tell you how the Sport:80 Platform can serve your needs - streamlining processes, saving money and creating an exceptional experience for members, athletes and coaches - but why not just see for yourself?

Your demonstration is live and will be tailored to your needs so you can ask questions as we delve into the incredible range of functionality available within the Sport:80 Platform.

Discover how Sport:80 can take you to the next level.


Create a thriving community with Sport:80

In conclusion, membership retention contributes significantly to an NGB’s ability to drive revenue, satisfaction, and long-term growth. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, NGBs can cultivate a loyal and engaged member base, strengthen their community, and thrive in a competitive landscape. 

The Sport:80 Platform is more than just sports CRM software - from membership management to data management and reporting, qualification management, event registration and more, our fully bespoke solution centralises core functions, freeing up your sports organisation's time and resources.

To learn more about how the Sport:80 Platform can support your organisation's journey, book your free demo today.