This guide covers membership benefits for nonprofits.

Membership Benefits – Nonprofit Catalog

Through membership programs, loyal supporters and nonprofits develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Members get perks that regular donors don’t, and nonprofits get a consistent stream of revenue. In this article, we’ll go over what exactly membership benefits are, and how they fit into nonprofit membership programs. Let’s dive in!

What are membership benefits?

In general, membership benefits are perks, services, and access that people receive when they participate in a membership program. You can easily find examples of these benefits when you look at aquarium or zoo memberships, which commonly offer free tickets in exchange for paying a membership fee.

Memberships commonly involve making recurring payments to an organization. If you’re thinking of implementing a membership program, make sure you’re up to date on recurring payment rules.

Membership program FAQs

What is a membership program?

Membership programs can serve many purposes, but above all, they are a way to increase supporter involvement within nonprofits and associations. These organizations offer specific member benefits in exchange for membership fees. Membership programs often have different goals, including:

  • Raising money for an organization.
  • Building a stronger network around a cause.
  • Receiving ideas and feedback from members.

The membership benefits you choose to offer are heavily influenced by your program’s goal. If you wish to give your members a larger voice, you may send them annual polls asking for their ideas for fundraising campaigns and events. Make sure that your members feel heard by implementing these suggestions into your fundraising initiatives.

Why have a membership program?

There are many benefits to having a membership program. Above all, these programs are mutually beneficial relationships—in exchange for a membership fee, members are recognized as dedicated supporters and given perks and special engagement opportunities. This member-organization relationship ensures a sustainable method of revenue generation for the organization and strengthens supporters’ trust and involvement.

If you’re planning on implementing a membership program for your organization, make sure your software for donor management is robust. You’ll want to be able to categorize your donors, ensuring you know who is part of your membership program.

Common membership benefits

This image shows some of the common membership benefits nonprofits offer.

Here are some benefits that are frequently offered in membership programs:

  • Members-only newsletters. Send your members exclusive newsletters with behind-the-scenes information not available to others. You can even give sneak peaks of future events. For instance, a botanical garden could tease images of their evening lights display.
  • Event perks. These perks can be early access to ticket purchases or early event registration. You can also offer event-specific perks, like free raffle tickets or extended bidding time for an auction. Make sure your ticketing and registration system is powerful, organized, and allows you to offer early and regular registration.
  • Community. Aside from offering event perks, you can also host member-exclusive events or meetings. For example, an art museum could host an event showing highly-anticipated artwork that the general public won’t be able to see.
  • Discounts. Organizations like aquariums that require ticket purchases often offer their members free or highly discounted tickets. Your organization could also offer a discount on merchandise, event tickets, or other services.
  • Membership cards. Giving your members a physical or digital membership card can help foster a sense of community and inclusivity. Make sure the graphic on the card is designed well so that members will feel proud displaying it.

Whether you are a cultural organization or a nonprofit, a membership program can be a great way to generate revenue and involvement. Offering participants member benefits makes the relationship mutually beneficial, making it much more likely that people will want to take part in your program. Make sure you have a powerful membership management software to guarantee success!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Donor Segmentation – Donors interact with your organization in different ways. Learn more about how to appeal to your different donor segments.

Nonprofit Marketing – Looking for other ways to promote your organization? Check out this guide.