GBSport | Do You Know Your Retention Rate?
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Do You Know Your Retention Rate?

thumbsupiconWe work with numerous clubs and coaches to help them develop an effective marketing plan and there are some basics that everyone should have in place to enable them to effectively monitor whether what they are doing works.

The most important of these is calculating and monitoring your retention rate, a key measure of how good are you are keeping your members/customers.


Retention rate is the ratio of members/customers who have not left your club/business after a set period of time – the higher the figure, the better you are at giving people what they want.

The calculation can look intimidating but it is actually quite easy to grasp, as follows:

RETENTION RATE = ( Number at end of period / number at start of period ) x 100

Divide the number of members who have renewed/are current members/customers at the end of the period by the number you had at the start of the period.    Let’s give you an example.     Anytown Sports Club had 200 members at the start of the year and 150 at the end of the year – 150 / 200 = 0.75.     We then multiply this result by 100 to give us the retention rate – 0.75 x 100 = 75%.


It is important because it gives you a very good indicator as to whether existing members/customers are satisfied with the services provided by the organisation.       You should NOT use the total number at start and end of the year as an accurate indicator of satisfaction!

For example, if Anytown Club had 100 members at the start of the year and ended up with 105 at the end of the year, it may look like the club had a stable/satisfactory year and that existing members are satisfied with the services provided.

What if I told you that 40 members didn’t renew at the end of the year?    What do you now think about the club?   Clearly if 40 left, we must have had 45 new members join for the first time so there is some good news in these figures.      But why did 40 members not renew?     This figure would give us a retention rate of just 60%, low for a typical sports club.

When we visit clubs like Anytown Club, we usually find that the club has significant room for improvement when it comes to delivering what members want, something that is mitigated by the fact that they usually run very successful open days and thereby manage to keep the total number of members at a satisfactory level.

Think about it – the 40% leaving the club are likely to be telling their friends about their experiences at the club, making it more and more difficult in the future for the club to continue to attract new members.


One of the most useful retention rates you should consider calculating and monitoring is retention of first year members/customers – how many people who joined for the first time are still members/customers.      It can give a good indication as to whether you were able to meet their needs as they will not be rejoining/staying because of any long term loyalty to the organisation.


You can also calculate the retention rate for various aspects of your programme, i.e. adults, juniors, etc.     This can provide an early indication of the strengths and weaknesses of your programme, i.e. your retention rate is good for adults but not for juniors.


A good retention rate for sports clubs and businesses is 85% and above.    If you are achieving less than this, review the services provided to members by starting with a simple satisfaction survey.     You need to find out why a significant percentage of people are not staying with you and then take steps to rectify any identified issues BEFORE you spend time and money marketing the organisation.


Contact us if you need further clarification or visit our support centre for further free expert online advice and support.