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Ryan Felps, CEO, Featured in SmartCEO

Check out CEO Ryan Felps  in this month's edition of SmartCEO.



 StarChapter: Member Interaction Equals Member Retention in 2012

What member-based associations need to do to remain viable in the New Year

Baltimore, MD – StarChapter, experts in local association chapter software and management, says association boards will have to communicate more effectively with members in order to maintain and/or increase member renewals in the coming months.

“Associations need to be in-tune with the needs of their members on an on-going basis,” says StarChapter CEO, Ryan Felps.  “The mission of these organizations must be melded to the goals of its membership; the only way to do that effectively is through better communication.  Do it -- or they will see a drop in renewals.”

Felps suggests frequent, professional and interactive communication with members is the most effective tool board members can do to engage members.

“In analyzing the integration of our software across the board, it has become apparent that those organizations which implement the software for email communication, e-newsletters, feedback and surveys tend to have higher renewal rates and event registrations,” says Felps.

People join organizations for various reasons including educational workshops, networking, employment, business opportunities and general camaraderie.  Felps explains that there can be a failure on the part of leadership to be in touch with what all the members are interested in learning about – which leads to a perceived lack of value by the member.

“Survey software is turn-key and gives members the opportunity to continue to be involved even after an event,” he says. Here are Felps top guidelines for attracting, and retaining, your association membership:

  • Improve communication

    Connect with members for more than just workshop registrations and member dues.  The more you communicate, without spamming, the more vested each member is going to feel.  Emails should have a consistent appearance, look professional and contain relevant news and information.

  • Get feedback!

    Giving feedback is just as important as receiving it – positive or otherwise. The more a member feels that they are engaged, and their opinions validated, they will feel more integrated into the organization.  Implementing the ‘survey’ function on your association management software is key to reaping the benefits of loyal members.

  • Increase online member networking.

    Offer your members an opportunity to list other industry events on your association calendar and access the member database for increased networking, the exchange of ideas and business opportunities. 

  • Target niche members

    Every member does not necessarily need to receive every email. If you are circulating a survey about an event, do not automatically send the survey email to members who did not attend.  Smart software knows which members to send the email to automatically. Looking to increase the number of builders, artists or nurses in your association? You can smart-target those members and engage them more frequently without including the entire membership in an email that is irrelevant to them.

  • Offer social media tie-ins.

    Many of your members may be tweeting, Facebooking and busy on Linked-in and other social networking sites. You want them to tweet and “like” one of your articles, newsletters, events or even the entire calendar because they are, in fact, helping you publicize your organization to other potential members. If you’re not already doing it, activate these tie-ins.

“The bottom line is this: improved member interaction translates into increased membership renewals,” says Felps.  “The association that puts out the most professional, quality-driven communication accelerates their perceived value and with it, member loyalty.”

StarChapter is an online SaaS (Software as a Service) company.  With 20 years of software development experience, StarChapter provides board members critical business functions needed to run their local chapters.  From managing meeting registrations, payments, membership records, public and private communications and reports online, this integrated, centralized system also provides stability during chapter board transitions.  The program increases efficiencies and productivity and multiple chapters can utilize the service within an organization. It is the most professional & comprehensive software management tool available to volunteers to professionally present their chapter information to prospects, members, and other interested parties at an affordable cost. For more information go to or call 866-775-3205. Thirty-minute free software demonstrations are available.