Help those in need without prejudice

It’s been fantastic working together with On to step back and develop a new strategy for our Membership Journey. We’re really pleased that we’re now in a much better position to meaningfully engage our Members and feel more confident in reconnecting with previously lapsed Members.

– Mariusz Wilczynski, Membership Marketing Officer, The Ramblers

Like hill walkers looking to bag the next Munro, we too love the challenge of a journey. Ramblers came to us with their very own challenge for us: how can we work together to improve their Membership Renewal Journey?

It had been 10 years since Ramblers had last partnered professionally with anybody on the Membership Journey – a communications programme designed to retain the Members they already have – and while their renewal rates are already strong, they recognised that investing in an improved Membership Retention plan now would work out well for them and their Members in the long term.

Our own journey began not with a walk in the hills, but rather with a deep dive into the data – through the existing Membership Journey, exploring what already works well and potential areas for improvement, not only from the data perspective, but also strategically and creatively.

Drawing on our knowledge of behavioural science, we used the COM-B (Capability Opportunity Motivation-Behaviour) model of behaviour change, which is applied to identify what needs to change in order for a behaviour change intervention to be effective.

It identifies the three factors that need to be present for any behavioural change to occur: Capability, Opportunity and Motivation so we looked for ways these could be improved upon with the new Membership Journey.

Collaborating with the data team at Ramblers, we conducted a strategic and creative evaluation of the existing communications, in the current journey – every point of contact or interaction, active and passive, between Ramblers, its brand and its Members – in order to identify the best performing of these ‘touch points’ and to understand what characteristics of a Member made them as individuals more likely to renew.

What we found was that Ramblers already has opportunities to go a lot further to engage and inspire Members with the effective benefits and impact of their Membership.

Crunching the numbers was one thing, but as every fundraiser knows, your audience is everything. So we then sat down and talked to some recently lapsed Members – those who were opting out of the Membership Journey entirely by choosing not to renew their Membership or ignoring renewal invitations altogether – to understand precisely why they became a Member in the first place and exactly what was stopping them from renewing their Membership.

It was hugely insightful. They told us that there were two broad reasons why they chose not to renew:

  1. Their experience of Membership didn’t meet their expectations, and as they didn’t have the opportunity to tell Ramblers about such issues it made it difficult for Ramblers to ‘fix their problems’. This meant Members lacked Motivation to renew.
  2. Their circumstances had changed or they didn’t want to have to renew straight away, but they would consider it in the future if they were asked. They didn’t have the Capability right now and might return at some point.

This told us that the new journey needed to include a feedback Opportunity long before Members are first asked to renew, in order to ensure any issues that they had experienced with Ramblers and their own Membership experience could be resolved.

Ramblers also learned that former Members were willing to re-join the organisation in due course and that a Reactivation Programme to re-engage Lapsed Members was therefore an essential part of the fundraising mix going forward.

Pulling together all of the learnings from the deep dive into the data, strategy and creative execution of the existing Renewal Journey along with the very personal feedback from the Lapsed Members’ interviews provided the template for the design of the new, insight-based Renewal Journey. With a focus on building engagement, removing barriers to renewals and being simple to fulfil, the new journey also has built-in stress tests to ensure it’s working as hard as possible.

Such a Renewal Journey itself is actually only one destination, as every Supporter, Donor, or Member Journey has many calling points along the way. And yet, maybe, they all share the same final destination. A promise to Remember a Charity in a Will – a Legacy Pledge?

If you want to know more about how Bethel Finance would improve your Member, Supporter and Donor retention and reactivation please contact Penny Telford, Business Development Director via