Kick it into overdrive


Our Top 5 Tips for Membership Campaigns

Maintaining a strong membership base is critical to the success of many nonprofits and cultural institutions. And while we’d love to keep all of our members from year to year, the reality is that in 2014, many organizations experienced 56.5% median losses in donor numbers, with only a 54% median gain. In other words, they lost more members than they added. As we work to improve member retention, we must also focus on membership growth to offset those that are inevitably lost. There are countless ways to run a membership drive, but we offer five tips to help steer you toward a more successful campaign.

Set Clear Goals and Chart Your Progress

An early step should be to decide what your membership goals are, then to break that larger goal down into monthly or quarterly membership goals. Dividing a large number into smaller ones enables you to celebrate your successes along the way and can help to keep your team on track.

Offer Motivation

Some members join simply because they care about your organization, but it doesn’t hurt to entice your audience with perks or giveaways based on their level of membership. Make the value of their membership known, whether it’s discounted or free admission to an exhibit, giveaways, a special members-only subscription, or early access to event tickets. You may also want to consider offering incentives for present members who bring aboard new members.

If your organization isn’t able to offer a tangible benefit to members or donors, you can instead let them know what they’ve made possible through their generous donation. Whether a monetary gift provides meals for the homeless, scholarship opportunities, or computers for schools, communicating that equivalency adds concrete value to a membership.

Communicate and Invite

Keeping your target audience in mind, come up with a communication plan that will reach those individuals. Email, blog posts, newsletter articles, direct mail, programmable display, and social media are all strong avenues to follow. Having a plan to reach current members, acquire new members, and engage past members will help you to focus your efforts and your message. Regardless of how you communicate, always remember to engage your audience with a call to action and direct access to a membership or donor form.

Keep a Strong Web Presence

Social media is an invaluable tool for interacting with members and potential members alike. When visitors “like” and “follow” your organization online, they publicize your message to all of their connections. The audience is unlimited, so this is a prime opportunity to reach out. When using paid and organic social media, use images along with your message to grab attention. Or go one step further and ask a question that your audience can chime in and answer. When you ask for an opinion or a response—or even prompt the user to finish a sentence—your post will likely generate much higher comment rates. These simple conversations with your users are all opportunities to connect and draw them in while they are already engaged and have you in mind.

Your website is another critical ingredient, and another way for your audience to interact with you wherever they may be. Although anyone can visit your site, offering special online content or members-only opportunities gives a sense of exclusivity and adds another layer of value to being a member. Of course, make sure your membership page provides all the information a visitor may need to join—and the membership form as well.

Make Joining Easy

Once your target audience is ready to sign on or donate, you want to make sure absolutely nothing gets in their way. Confirm membership forms are on hand and readily accessible to guests who are visiting you in person or at any event your organization may be attending. Verify that website visitors can easily find the link to join or donate online, and that any destination links posted to social media will lead users to the proper destination.