From my prospective they're both equally important. While it's imperative to take care of your current members you must continue to build and keep your eye on the future.
Your chamber will always have attrition (the amount of your members who drop their membership each year).
The key is keeping it to a minimum with great customer service and great programming and gaining more new members than the amount of members you lose each year through attrition.
The better question is whether you have a strategy in place for both of these important aspects of your membership activities. Remember, we are membership organizations so without them we wouldn't be in business.
In addition to your initial new member kit, each chamber should have their own membership retention plan in place. I’m not going to list everything you should do, or what may or may not work for you, but here’s a list of things a number of chambers have done with success:
- 90 day welcome call;
- Six month "check-in" email; and
- Three months prior to due date you reach out again and thank them for their membership.
Just as you have a retention plan you should also have a recruitment plan. Again, what works for you may not work for all chambers, but you need to have a plan and stick with it.
- A good list;
- Repetition in "the ask;" and
Retention and recruitment, you need to be doing both!
A great resource for measuring your activities and results vs what others are doing around the country can be found in their annual Marketing General Inc. Membership survey.
You can get it HERE.