There are thousands of nonprofits around the world, and many of them have some type of membership program. At charity-run events, it is not uncommon to see the organization encouraging people to sign up for it. It is fairly easy to create one, and Process Donation is one organization that allows nonprofits to create memberships. Memberships offer rewards to individuals and provide incentives to keep donating. It begs the question as to why should a charity should create a membership program.
One of the prime reasons why a nonprofits organization would create a membership program is to form a source of revenue. According to Allison Gauss, a writer of Classy, nonprofits do not get a steady stream of income from grants and sponsorships, which a membership-based program can provide (Gauss 2015). A nonprofit’s main goal is to be as effective as possible in accomplishing its mission. It could be rescuing animals or helping the environment, regardless, working towards these goals can cost a lot. So, organizations focus on attracting as many donors as possible, and memberships are an excellent way to do it. Not only are people helping the organization, but it also creates loyalty among members. As Gauss states in her article, a strong membership program has about a 70% retention rate (Gauss 2015). While there are numerous reasons to have memberships, income is the biggest reason to have them.
Memberships can be used to track corporate sponsors, who will be the ones donating the most money. Many individuals have probably gotten reminders to renew their memberships when it is close to expiring, so there is a database containing member information. Once a nonprofit has gained a corporate sponsor, they can use the database to pay close attention to the company membership. The charity can prepare in getting the corporation to renew their membership by emphasizing benefits or providing new ones.
It is not always enough to have a simple program in order to attract individuals. Some charities have levels with the higher ones providing the best benefits. Levels can encourage people to donate more money for a premium status. An article, written by Robin Cabral, states how different levels increase engagement with current members and increase revenue for the future (Cabral 2018). The cost of the first tier or two should start off very affordable to encourage more people to join.
Types of Rewards
The kinds of rewards offered from a membership program can vary from organization to organization. Some ideas can be free merchandise like wristbands or banners. Members can get notified of future events before everyone else, or they can attend member-only events. If there is a tiered structure, then the upper tier members can be personally recognized by nonprofit leaders at events. There can be tax benefits offered, which would be appealing to corporate entities. There are numerous gifts to give back to members, and it is important to choose them based on the type of audience that is being encouraged to join.