How to use membership CRM to engage, grow and retain your members

DateApril 2023

Author: Jeremy Jalie, Business Development Director at Silverbear

As a membership CRM specialist, we’re asked on a regular (if not daily) basis the following three questions:

  1. How do I engage my members?
  2. How do I grow my members?
  3. How do I retain my members?

Certainly, one answer to all three of these questions is by having the best member CRM system. But that doesn’t help you. Nor does it provide any real insight into what the best CRM system (or best association management software, depending on the nature of your organisation) looks like. It would be a bit like me asking for the best way to drive to Scotland from London, and you saying ‘by car’. Ideally, you need a bit more information on the why and how.

So, to offer some whys and hows in the context of effective membership management, here are four tips to get you started.

  1. Make it personal, keep it relevant

Are you still texting and emailing members who are increasingly leaving text and email behind? Do you or your team spend hours trying to establish the ‘email of the week’, or allocate a disproportionate amount of time to finalising the monthly newsletter at the expense of other, more innovative - and potentially more favourable - communications channels? Silverbear 365 enables its users to draw on a multitude of channels and tools to communicate with members using methods that accurately reflect the way in which members want to be communicated with. According to Memberwise’s Digital Excellence 2021/22 report, 74 per cent of organisations use an association management system to personalise the online experience. Could you be in the remaining 26 per cent?

  1. Know your audience

Before you decide on the medium (how you’re going to say it), you need to be clear on your message (what you’re going to say). And to make sure your message – whether it relates to events, subscriptions, or professional development - hits home, you need to ensure that you’re saying the right thing to the right people. The beauty of advanced membership management software is that it provides a single-member view. Via Silverbear 365, for example, users can access a view of individual members that can be broken down by a number of categories including profession, sector, qualifications, and professional interests. Not so long ago, this kind of information wasn’t easily accessible – and even then, making sense of it often required the use of multiple databases and spreadsheets. Now, everything relating to your audience is available at your fingertips in a way that’s visual and easy to digest. Not only that but if you have a good membership management system in place, ALL information will be updated in real-time, too.

  1. Use it or lose it

Digital transformation is a big deal. Some embrace it and all the benefits it brings. Many approach it with a degree of caution. Others are simply fearful of it. Irrespective of how people respond to association management systems, the simple fact is this: they help make membership organisations make better decisions, build better relationships and operate more efficiently.

Through technology such as Silverbear 365, users are able to improve business outcomes using data-driven insights and recommendations. They’re able to create more meaningful engagement with a comprehensive customer view, and they’re also able to automate and optimise everyday tasks. If this alone doesn’t fill you with the confidence needed to engage, grow and retain your members, then nothing will. Step one is to buy association management software whereby the only limits to engaging with your members lie with you and your imagination. Step two is to use it and all its functionality as much as possible.

  1. Don’t get caught in the long grass

We’re going to use another car analogy here (we like those).

Not that many years ago, when it came to making a long journey much of people’s time and effort was spent route planning – not only before the trip but also during it, too. Getting to the destination was almost a significant achievement in itself! Then came sat-nav. Now, as a result, all the critical information is processed behind the scenes, which means that the driver can spend more time focusing on other things. The same applies to effective membership management. Instead of manually piecing together data from different data sets, platforms, and software, one membership CRM platform will do it all for you. This means you are able to spend less time in the long grass and more time focussing on the road ahead (i.e., developing your membership).

Silverbear 365 has been developed specifically to help membership organisations engage, grow and retain their members. For more information, or to speak with an association management system specialist, call our team of membership specialists on 01483 409409 or email


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