Membership Surveys and Renewals

Membership Surveys and Renewals


By David Allen, Development for Conservation


My mother and her husband recently moved from Estes Park, Colorado to Portland, Oregon. In celebration and support, my wife and I bought her a membership in the Oregon State Parks Foundation, a day-use parking sticker for their car, and a book of maps and trails.

When I give or join any organization, I always pay close attention to the donor experience, and this gift membership was no exception. And frankly, for the most part, the member experience was not particularly noteworthy.

Then, about a month before my renewal month, I received this email:



It struck my as exemplary in many ways:

  • It arrived a month before my renewal month.
  • It was addressed to me personally.
  • It was clearly presented as being from a real person, in this case Maegan, and her picture was included.
  • It connected me to a survey – think specific and singular call to action with a specific deadline – not trying to do too much in one email.
  • The survey had seven questions which collectively served to remind me of the reasons I supported the Foundation last year.
  • The sixth question particularly struck me – Do you intend to renew your membership? It came after questions about how I first heard about the Foundation, why I joined, what I liked most, and what I might like (if anything) as a membership premium. And it was followed by a question about how often I visit a state park.


I thought it was brilliant, and I thought it set me up in the best way possible as a renewal candidate.

First year renewal rates are notoriously dismal. Often, first gifts are impulsive and emotional. One year is not enough time for many people to replace those feelings with those of love and loyalty. So a first renewal rate of 40-45% is pretty healthy. Anything you can do to boost that rate will help you grow your membership faster.

I’ve seen several organizations using membership surveys to periodically gather information. But this email and survey from Oregon State Parks Foundation was different and felt exemplary.

And worth passing along.


Cheers, and have a great week!


PS: I did renew!


Photo by Trevor M from Pixabay


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  • Sarah Bratnober
    Posted at 12:37h, 18 December

    Thanks for sharing those. I didn’t see your response when I first came back to your blog.

  • Sarah Bratnober
    Posted at 12:36h, 18 December

    Thanks, David! Would you mind sharing all of the questions from their survey?

  • Carol Abrahamzon
    Posted at 12:17h, 18 December

    I was going to ask exactly what Sarah asked, she beat me to it! Thanks!!

  • Sarah Bratnober
    Posted at 10:33h, 17 December

    Thanks, David. I would love to know what all seven questions were.

    • David Allen
      Posted at 10:56h, 17 December


      Sure. The seven questions are listed below. Each question offered several options and “other” to choose from. The options were all specific to the Foundation and are not presented here. If you want the specifics, we can take it offline. There were actually two more questions: an “anything else you’d like to share” question and a place to leave your name and email address.

      1. How did you first hear about the Foundation?
      2. What is the primary reason you became a member of the Foundation?
      3. We are considering different thank you gifts for our members. Which of the following gifts are most appealing to you?
      4. If none of the above thank you gifts appeal to you, we’d love to hear your ideas!
      5. The Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the experience within Oregon’s state parks. To guide us in our future planning, please rank the importance of our current program areas.
      6. Do you intend to renew your membership?
      7. How often do you visit an Oregon state park?