Retaining existing members

A huge chunk of new work comes from existing members. They are also generally more profitable than new members, and it's cheaper and easier to retain them than it is to acquire new members. Despite this, sometimes clubs or associations make the mistake of spending more time, effort and money chasing new members than retaining and developing their existing members.
Delivering a great program, event or other activity based on what members want and need will assist with member retention and acquisition. It will enable you to manage member expectations about your club/associations performance, and to build member satisfaction, loyalty and value.
Softball clubs have an advantage over many other activities because softball is a sport with wide appeal and a sport that you can participate in for life.
There are many versions of softball which make it suitable for life long participation and that help retain your existing members. At a snap shot, increased and varied competitions may encourage people to continue participating in the sport within your club/association.  And of course we can’t forget that umpiring, scoring, coaching and managing teams are all ways people can remain involved in the game and your club/association once they have packed their gloves and bats away.
Some key points to retaining members are;  
·  Know what they want and value and ensure you deliver it
· Anticipate your members’ future needs and understand the trends that might impact their future involvement
· Build enduring member relationships based on satisfaction and service quality
· Recognize outstanding members
· Value their contribution to the club/association, even if this contribution is just being a general member or if they     dedicate hours of their time, knowledge and other resource.
Increasing the level of participation by existing members
1. We know that people are increasingly time poor. So running a competition over a long season or playing traditional 7 innings games may not suit many members. Think about introducing a different type of competition or version of Softball for your members that are stretched for time….and who knows, this also might be an event that also attracts new members.
2. Encourage and advertise the coach, scoring and umpiring pathways. Put an effective and easy program in place that mentors and provides support to those who want to give coaching, scoring and umpiring a go.  Also ensure that all members are aware of any Code of conducts that might be in place to help safeguard and prevent any unnecessary criticism of any new volunteers.
3. Encourage and advertise volunteering roles within the club. Also reward and recognise your volunteers. Once they have finished playing, people might make the shift to volunteering within your organization…..if your club has shown good ethics, values and has safe practices and policies in place
Focusing time and attention on profitable members
1. Find out how satisfied your members really are.  Regular research can help you anticipate the needs of your members and adapt to their requirements. It can help determine and track member satisfaction, which is key to finding whether a member is likely to stay or leave your club/association. 
This research doesn’t need to be complicated, but it should be conducted annually so you can pick up trends and issues early and respond quickly.
2. Once you have a sense of what your members want or don’t want, value or don’t value, you must act to give them what they want and value. Members will become dissatisfied if you ignore their feedback.