A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
We promote our new members, we also promote renewing members, question, should we let our membership know when a member decides not to renew? Members build their business with the help of the Chamber, and then decide not to renew, but yet other members continue to support their thinking they are still supporting the Chamber. We want all businesses to succeed, but . . . . just wonder how other Chambers deal with this?
It’s understandable to want to ensure members recognize other members and nonmembers, but there are times when doing so can seem like a child on a playground pointing to someone and telling her friend she can’t be friends with him because he’s no longer part of the cool group.
Suggestions on How to Handle Member Nonrenewal
These sorts of announcements must be handled delicately or you run the risk of appearing to be pro-member at the expense of local business. Several chamber professionals had some suggestions on how to handle it tactfully.
While a newsletter announcement may seem the opposite of tactful, one chamber did it very successfully by thanking these past members for their membership and hoping they would want to be a part of the chamber’s efforts in the future. This conveys the message that they are no longer members without any hard feelings.
For chambers that use member window clings or plaques, these can be recollected or turned in at the end of membership. This is a subtle way for other businesses to realize this business is no longer a chamber member. However, it requires someone collecting them, which can be a tricky.
Adding up Member-to-Member Savings
For chambers that offer member-to-member savings programs, sometimes all it takes for a soon-to-be-former member to be convinced to stay is seeing how much he or she will lose without those valuable savings. One chamber member reconsidered cancelling his membership based on a fuel discount he was receiving from another member that he would lose if he gave up membership.
Do you announce your member departures? Join the conversation here.