When helping nonprofits with a membership program, I think about my own membership experiences. My favorite benefits are reduced fees for classes or events—makes me feel like I’m getting a bargain, which I always like.
I think it’s important to think long and hard about what motivates people’s interest in your membership program, then build your membership benefits around those interests. A good example are animal organizations—most people who become a member of these organizations most likely have pets. Benefits relating to pet ownership may be the best benefit to offer.
Many people like to publicly share their support for nonprofits, so another benefit I like is a sticker or t-shirt that I can wear or display.
I enjoy tangible benefits. I also enjoy those that are intangible. I belonged to the Association of Fundraising Professionals for many years and took advantage of many excellent training opportunities.
I joined the Sports Car Club of America for reduced fees at auto crossing events, driving schools and a monthly magazine about sports cars.
I’ve taken advantage of zoo and museum memberships for admission and special event opportunities. I’ve belonged to organizations that lobby and advocate for members on issues I value.
I also appreciate the opportunity to forgo receiving a benefit. It shows good fiscal management on the part of the organization and lets me increase my support.
In addition to my personal and professional memberships, I’ve always tried to find membership programs for organizations I’ve directed, using program benefits to strengthen the organization, the board or staff.
Here are additional resources about membership program benefits.