Ask Your Members to Update Their Information

This tip comes from Janice Mawson, Director of Membership at the National Venture Capital Association. Janice’s story illustrates how simply asking for updated information from your members can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of your renewal campaigns, marketing efforts, or other forms of communication.

I’ll let Janice explain in her own words:

“NVCA is somewhat like a trade association in that our membership is corporate rather than individual.We have approximately 470 member firms, which represents over $3.8M in revenue for our organization. Our fiscal year is June-May, so we begin the renewal process with a dues invoice mailing at the end of April to one designated point of contact (POC) for each firm. Because the economy has such a huge impact on the venture capital industry, we were concerned that significant changes had occurred regarding staff, continued operation, merger, etc., since our last “conversation” with these individuals in the Fall. I decided we should send a pre-cursor email before we did the dues mailing to find out if the POC was still there and if any pertinent information had changed.The results have been more than what we bargained for!

“Like most organizations we don’t have email addresses for everyone, so we faxed those with no email.In less than a week we heard from close to 3/4 of our membership – that, in and of itself, is pretty significant.Many of the responses have been short and sweet, but many have contained title, address, phone, fax, etc. which has helped us clean up our database. In addition, we asked for emails in the faxes we sent and just about everyone has given us this information!

“We received many changes for the POC. If we had mailed the dues invoices without knowing this it would have taken a long time to get the new information let alone receipt of payment. So far two firms indicated they would not renew, which helped us figure out the dues dollars we might lose up front as well as providing an extended opportunity to try to keep them.

“I know this isn’t rocket science but I was shocked at the number of changes and new information we received. The down side of this project was digging through the responses. I was reluctant to have them go to our website to make changes because I didn’t want to make it hard to respond. And, I couldn’t say “there’s no need to respond if you’re still the contact” because we wouldn’t know whether or not that really was the case.

“From the response I guess I went about this the right way. I really don’t think this many people would have gone to our website…it’s like pulling teeth when we ask them to do this for the directory. However, for a much larger organization the responses/changes could be too overwhelming for a membership department to handle if they went into one person’s in-box.

“The latest statistics: 31 faxes sent/433 emails sent 432 total responses = 93% response rate 29 change requests 4 will non-renew 5 bad addresses (successful in updating 3). This was well worth the effort and we will probably continue to do this every year prior to the annual renewal billing.”

An incredibly simple yet very effective method for updating the NVCA database. Janice was able to update nearly 10% of her database and she found out about four expected non-renewers now, rather than three or four months from now.


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If you’d like to learn more about how EDM can help you with your data management challenges, contact me at (540)-338-9404 or email me at

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