Friday, August 15, 2014

Amp Up Your Membership Program

Many nonprofits heavily depend on donations. The easiest way to increase donor loyalty and to keep donations recurring is to implement a membership program. However, creating enough incentive for supporters to pay for a membership may be daunting. The following tips will help you
Offering small gifts with memberships
will keep your donors loyal.
amp up your membership program to be more attractive to your supporters. 

Start with the basics and build up

Before you can create an extravagant membership program with plenty of perks, you need to first create the basics of what a membership to your organization entails. The most important aspects to consider are how long the membership will last, whether it is meant for individual or family use and how much the membership will cost the supporter. Once the basics have been decided, more exciting details can be planned. However, the actual memberships also need to start with the basics and build up. The membership program should have multiple options available, with the benefits growing with the donation amount.

Minimum package level must-haves

This package should start with free admission if your organization (such as a zoo, park or museum) charges guest visits. This will be the best way to get a supporter to continually frequent your organization. The more they interact with what they are supporting, the more important they will view the cause. Chances are, their visits will bring in other guests as well. Since you are encouraging them to visit more often, the membership should also include discounts towards anything else that the venue charges. For example, a percentage off at the gift shop and/or classes or programs offered by the venue. For the minimum membership level, this discount should be around 10-15%.

If your supporter cares enough about your organization or cause to become a member, chances are they will want to be kept up-to-date. Add them to your mail or email newsletter list. It is important that your members are kept in the loop so they know exactly what their support is doing for their cause. If they don’t know what happens with their money, what is the point of their donation? This communication is also a great way for your members to feel connected and truly a part of the organization. When they can tell they are making a difference, they are more likely to stay involved.

Mid-level packages

Mid-level packages should contain everything the minimum-level package does, but with additional benefits. Start by raising any discount prices another 5-10% and include extra communication from the organization. Sending a different picture each month from your venue with a statistic or piece of trivia could go a long way. For example, a zoo could send a picture or postcard of a different exhibit with a fact about the animals living in it. Another option to include in mid-level packages is member-only invites. This could be as formal or casual as fits your organization, from a formal dinner to an outdoor concert to private walking tours. An animal activist may want to get a “meet and greet” to see the animals that their money helped rescue, while a nature enthusiast may appreciate an outdoor concert at the community garden that their donations helped flourish.


Top-level packages

Like the mid-level membership packages, the top-level packages should offer everything the previous packages do, with even more benefits. Discount levels should be raised to a significant amount and extra “freebies” should be offered. At this point, their membership offers should really leave an impression on them. For interactive venues such as museums or zoos, free admission to similar or partner venues around the country could be offered. This is also a good opportunity to send gifts that will really resonate with the member. For example, venue stickers and coloring books could be sent to family memberships. Millennials often appreciate t-shirts and printed or embossed silicone bracelets from their cause. A nature enthusiast may also appreciate seeds or seedlings to plant from an arbor society or botanical garden, while animal supporters may enjoy the chance to name new animals in zoos or shelters.


What special perks do your membership programs offer? Share your ideas in the comments below!