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The New Normal For Chamber Membership Renewals

Even in the best of times, it is rare to find a chamber membership rep who looks forward to calling members about their renewal. Asking for money is simply outside the comfort zone for most people. The current environment can make you more apprehensive if you let it.

Economic recovery is moving slowly and with many regions of the U-S experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19, we’ve got to face the facts. Chambers are going to face member recruitment and renewal challenges for the foreseeable future. You're going to have to continue to do things differently than you did prior to the pandemic.


Many members would willingly renew under normal circumstances, but the COVID-19 disruption has created circumstances that are far from business as usual. The hardships facing many members are beyond their control.

These unstable circumstances and uncertainty about the future require you to accept that membership renewal is out of the question for many businesses. And though prior to COVID-19 you might have tried to overcome objections when a member was unable to renew, that strategy is no longer appropriate and could damage relations with that business owner going forward.


An empathetic, helpful call invites honest discussion. Approach renewal calls with compassion and common sense. Ask questions and try to gain an understanding of each member’s circumstances before attempting to transition the discussion to membership renewal.

A positive member experience should be the priority for every call. As such, you must rely on your instincts and best judgment to determine whether it is appropriate to inquire about membership renewal – and when it is not. Done respectfully, it will be perfectly okay to ask.

Dependent on their circumstances, you may be able to tactfully offer flexible payment solutions for many members. However, we recommend resisting the impulse to offer discounted memberships. The long term impact is not worth any short term gains for your chamber. 

Regrettably, there will be members whose circumstances are so dire that mentioning their renewal would be completely inappropriate. In these instances, you should bypass the renewal conversation and implement your chamber’s COVID-19 renewal protocol.

If you don’t have one, it’s not too late to implement one or update your existing protocol. For tips on how to do that, we encourage you to watch the recording of our webinar, Managing Membership Renewals During COVID-19.

As always, we’re here for you. If you have questions about any aspect of chamber membership sales or renewals, contact us. We’re easy to talk to, and we want to help.

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