The Becker Blog

Stepping Stones to Creating a Great Nonprofit Membership Program


Starting a membership program is an exciting next step for growing your nonprofit organization since there can be numerous benefits. Financially, it creates a source of predictable income and may help establish credibility with funders/stakeholders. They can also help to develop the industry you are a part of and build a bigger network around your cause. With the right tools, it may further evolve into a platform for your members to make connections on amongst an audience with similar interests. While the possibilities are endless, getting started from the ground-up may seem intimidating but our team is ready to help! The following points are a few elements we have experience advising on and believe are vital to the success of a nonprofit membership program.

Define Your Purpose

What will be the structure of your membership program? To help define the parameters, think about your organization as it is and what you would like to accomplish. Will your nonprofit membership program prioritize furthering your cause, or raising money, or bringing together a like minded community? Also consider that membership categories should serve you in the long term; adding and/or changing a membership class usually requires by-law change with an approval by the majority of the membership. After deciding always keep in mind that you are asking your supporters to invest more deeply in your organization using their hard earned dollars. Make it worthwhile for them by offering a variety of shiny member-only privileges and exclusive perks. A good starting point is brainstorming things that will appeal to the same reason why they are supporting your nonprofit in the first place. 

Importance of Feedback 

Feedback from your members regarding their experience with your program’s benefits is key to retention. Some methods of collecting feedback include: sending out a survey to the mailing list (incentives always help), reaching out on social media platforms, or possibly having a drop box style function built within your website. The drop box can be added onto the main menu and it can be titled anything along the lines of “Submit Your Feedback” to something more personal like “How Can We Improve Your Experience”. Members are the backbone of your program so creating a space for them to voice their concerns (or share their appreciation!) helps with staying connected and provide every opportunity to share your mission and values.

Take the feedback and set up regular board/staff meetings to review comments. Be sure to announce any changes based on feedback to your members so they know they are being heard! Since member feedback can be very important for your organization, demonstrate your gratitude for active and engaged members by offering rewards- giveaways and free membership renewals are a great start. Beyond member feedback, tracking website analytics and letting those stats speak for themselves can also be very informative. 

Membership Management Solutions

Membership management software is arguably the most important aspect of ensuring smooth sailing. Whether your organization plans on hosting events, or providing educational content, or selling products, having a seamless membership management software working behind the scenes is essential. Our president and chief technology officer Adam Becker has used his years of expertise in tech and association management to create a membership management software named The Association Panel (TAP).

The Association Panel. A single place for membership, donation, events management

We use TAP to manage several of our clients’ membership programs amounting to thousands of memberships and also a wide variety of other data depending on the individual association’s needs. We are able to unify all your contacts, memberships, order purchases, event registrations, course enrollments, journal subscription management, and even more possibilities all in one place and that place is TAP- centralized and collaborative. Adam and his team work daily to improve the platform.

Reach out to us today if you feel your organization could benefit from creating a nonprofit membership program or making changes to an already existing program.

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