How a Subscription Management System Can Help Acquire and Retain Members

DateDecember 2013

Associations and organisations that rely on the recruitment and retention of membership need to ensure they’re able to effectively manage and communicate with these key stakeholders. A subscription management system is an efficient way of controlling all areas of membership management and is something that many large associations take advantage of.

A subscription management system helps membership associations get closer to their members by facilitating improved knowledge, control and communication with members. An effective solution makes it easy for members to register in the first place and easy to renew when the time comes.

Subscription Management System: Membership Registration 

When a prospective member approaches an organisation, they need to be able to indicate their interest and apply for membership quickly, easily and on terms that they’re comfortable with. 

A subscription management system should include an online membership portal – somewhere where members can create an online account, then apply for membership themselves. Opening an online account can be the first step in a long relationship they may have with your organisation, so it’s vital that the application process reflects the type of service and value they can expect to receive when they commit to membership. The portal should allow for applications for both individuals or corporations, depending on the membership/association type.

An online portal will allow prospective members to control their application from initial contact, through to approval. They’ll be able to track progress of their application, upload any relevant supporting documents, as well as making a secure payment for their membership – based on their membership level (such as student, professional, basic etc), or raising an invoice if required.  Using a subscription management system to make the process of applying for membership smooth, efficient and convenient, helps to build a strong relationship with that member from day one.


Subscription Management System: Membership Renewal

When it comes to membership renewals, a subscription management system is vital. Organisations must be extremely organised when it comes to the renewal period – as any lapses or mistakes can lead to lost members. It’s very difficult to have an effective renewal service if you’re not using some kind of subscription management system – there are too many members, and too many variables to deal with manually!


A subscription management system can handle the process of renewals with ease. At a set period before the membership is due to lapse, it can automatically send out renewal reminders – often with early bird discounts and other rewards for early take-ups. 

Members can access their membership profile through the self-service portal, and renew their membership online, much in the same way as a new member would apply for membership. Payment can be taken online securely, or due to the seamless integration with the association’s finance system, invoices and other documents can be automatically generated and sent out. Any early-bird discounts or other pricing levels will be automatically applied.


When it comes to renewing a membership account, it’s important to reinforce the value of membership to that member. A subscription management system can pull together all the information relating to individual members and present that to them in their profile to remind them of the value they’ve received as a result of being a member – things like events they’ve attended, training they’ve undertaken, qualifications renewed, special interest groups they’re members of, items they’ve bought and the discounts available to them. These are all things that may have occurred over the last 12 months, that the member may have forgotten about. Presenting this in a strong format like this reinforces the value proposition of the association.

To run effectively, organisation should be able to see a single view of all their members – with all the information relating to their activity and history all in one single snapshot. A subscription management system is an effective way of creating this, and avoids membership managers trawling through various different systems and paperwork. 

Benefiting Members and the Association

It’s important that the subscription management system does more than just handle membership subscriptions and renewals. A simple payment-taking system won’t give you the relevant member information and history needed to create an effective communication strategy. Organisations should be striving towards the ‘single view of their members’ where they can instantly see and understand the position of each and every member.

A simple payment-taking system also won’t give members access to an online portal that can be vital for those who want to take a proactive stance to their membership, and who want to have more ownership of their own account. 


Silverbear Membership Management


Our membership management software gives membership organisations everything they need from a subscriptions management system – and more.

For the organisation, it covers all aspects of event and conference management, training and education, finance management, marketing and all areas of membership management with full reporting and business intelligence

For members, it gives them access to an online portal, where they can manage their own profile, make online purchases and transactions, view and register for events, manage their training and CPD qualifications and interact with other members.

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