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Case Study: CoSN Membership Metrics

Posted by Dresden Farrand, MPA, MPP, CAE on Dec 23, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Thank you to Dresden Farrand MPA, MPP, CAE for updating us on the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) retention rate. If you attended the September ISAE breakfast program you’ll remember how her strategies of re-engaging lapsed members and relationship building resulted in a $114,000 increase in membership revenue.


CoSN has experienced tremendous growth in the area of membership recruitment and retention since the organization changed our overall communications strategy. CoSN went from an organization that “blasted” messages to members and perspective members to an organization that now simplifies, personalizes and connects with members and prospective members on an individual level.

CoSN increased membership in the 2014–2015 year by 13 percent, which is a 35 percent increase over a three-year period. Our final renewal rate for the 2014–2015 membership year is 72 percent, which is a 4 percent decrease from last year (which was 76 percent). The projected renewal rate (if all payments had been received by drop date from members who indicated payment was forth-coming) is 75 percent.

Because of our steady growth over the last three years, CoSN Board of Directors decided it was time to increase CoSN Membership dues in the 2014–2015 membership year. Several years had passed since the organization increased dues and the Board felt the membership base was strong enough to sustain this effort. Although the dues increase was announced in the 2014–2015 membership year, it did not go into effect until the 2015–2016 membership year, when it was time to renew.

A 4 percent attrition in members translates to a loss of $83,000 in revenue, while the value of a 15 percent increase in dues is $106,000-- resulting in a net gain of $23,000. The original analysis of our increase predicted we would net between $15,000–$66,000.

Factors that may have impacted the 4 percent decrease are as follows:

  1. Increase in membership dues for the 2015–2016 membership year.
  2. Higher cost dues category for some institutional members.
  3. Eighteen month membership specials.
  4. Internal staff changes.

Although I would have wanted to maintain our previous retention number, I continue to be incredibly proud of CoSN’s leaders and their decision to increase membership dues. The decision was a critical step in the growth of CoSN.

Dues help CoSN provide the resources necessary to advance our mission and improve learning across the nation. Our communications stressed that we are serious about strengthening our existing resources, initiating new programs, and continuing to effectively serve our members.

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Topics: Communication, membership, Member Recruitment and Retention, dues

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