pexels-photo-325682Membership programs are an excellent way for nonprofits to provide beneficial services and resources to their community while increasing their pool of potential advocates and volunteers. While nonprofits certainly need to find ways to retain existing members, developing a strategy to attract new ones is vital to their long-term growth and stability. The following suggestions will improve the results of your next membership drive.

Set a Measurable Goal

Before you begin your next campaign drive, set a target that can be measured and quantified to make the goal more meaningful. This will also make it easier to take specific action to improve performance while your drive is still in progress. Setting a goal to increase your membership by X members, or X percentage will always be more actionable than creating a poorly defined one that is difficult to focus on and achieve.

Define Your Budget

Before you start, it’s important to create a realistic budget to ensure that you aren’t wasting advertising or other dollars to attract new recruits. Determine your average member acquisition cost, and the number of new members you want to attract to help you define the maximum you are willing to spend on the drive. Member acquisition cost is simply how much of your total marketing and advertising expense is used to attract one new member to your cause. Once you know this cost, and how many new members you wish to attract, you have a good idea of how much you can spend on recruiting costs. While you want to set an ambitious goal, you do want to keep in mind how successful your past membership drives have been when setting your target and budget.

Discover Why Your Supporters Become Members, and Tailor Your Message to Fit Their Needs

There are several reasons why someone might wish to become a member of a nonprofit, and if you want to win prospects over, it’s important to discover these reasons, and tailor your messaging to match! While many NFPs focus on offering a host of benefits to their members, they fail to let prospects know about the impact they make in the community.

One of the most popular reasons why people join a group is to feel that they are a part of a specific community of “like-minded” individuals. Others join because signing up with an association gives them a chance to “dream” and participate in an activity or cause that they otherwise would not be able to join. Some feel a great deal of social responsibility and choose to join groups that advocate for change for a specific problem or concern that they care about. Make sure that your membership drive targets each of these groups to increase your results so that you let prospects know what’s in it for both them and their community when they pitch in by signing up!

Make it Personal

Don’t’ just rely on facts and statistics when telling prospects about the good work performed by your organisation. Use personal stories to make an emotional connection and illustrate the impact made by your organisation. Show others the difference that your organisation makes and ask them to do their part and join you in making a difference!

Offer Multiple Tiers of Membership and Support

Give prospects a choice in the level of support that they offer your nonprofit. Increase the amount of benefits supporters gain at different levels of membership to encourage greater gifts and recurring donations.

Offer Existing Members an Incentive to Recruit for You

Your best advocates are your existing members. Offer them a discount on their own membership dues for every new member that they introduce and recruit to your organisation!

Tie Your Membership Drive to an Exciting, Live, In-Person Event

While an increasing number of donations are made online, or on the go with a smartphone and digital currency, you can make it easier to get the word out about your upcoming drive, and encourage more sign-ups, by holding it in conjunction with another event. Host a luncheon that will allow others to tour your offices and see firsthand the work that your organisation is doing to improve your community. Festivals, charity auctions, a fun run or other competition, conferences and similar live events are a great time to seek out new members!

Simplify Your Sign-Up Process

Make it easy for new members to join, whether they are replying to an email, visiting your online portal, attending a live event, or responding to direct mail or other traditional forms of advertising. Make your registration form as short and straightforward as possible and offer multiple ways for them to pay for their membership. The more options that you offer your prospects, and the easier that you make it to join your cause, the more likely they will be to see it through and become part of your organisation!