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Section 17. Establishing and Maintaining a Membership Program

What is a membership program?

___You understand that a membership program is one that asks people to contribute something - money, time, specific actions, etc. - to an organization, in return for which they become affiliated with it for a set length of time.

Why might you want to establish a membership program?

You know that membership:

___Encourages commitment, and makes people feel part of the organization.

___Can broaden the knowledge and understanding of your issue in the community.

___Builds community support for your organization.

___Can involve members more deeply in the organization.

___Can afford you with a predictable share of annual income.

___May motivate members to contribute to an endowment or make larger annual gifts .

___Can strengthen members' support and advocacy in the community.

___Can establish your credibility with funders.

___Can increase your influence with policy makers.

When is a good time to establish a membership program?

You take into account:

___The best time of year to contact potential members.

___The organization's capacity to mount a membership drive.

___The organization's need for cash at specific periods.

___ The existence of events or periods when - because of the nature of the organization - it's most appropriate to conduct a membership drive.

Who are potential members, and how do you find them?

You know that you can:

___Start with the people you know.

___Target individuals and groups that have some personal or professional connection with the work of your organization.

___Buy, borrow, or trade contact lists from other organizations.

___Circulate sign-up sheets at presentations.

___Go where the money is.

___Build a contact list.

How do you establish a membership program?

You will:

___Develop a system for overseeing and coordinating the membership process.

___Set fees and dues.

You'll contact people by:

___Face to face meetings.

___Phone solicitation.

___Direct mail

___You know about bulk mail

___You know how to write and pretest a membership letter.

___You know how to get membership letters stuffed and mailed.


___Public appeals through the media.

___Other methods: events, postering, etc.

___You will record and answer members' responses.

___You know how to write a member thank-you letter.

How do you maintain a membership program?

You will:

___Keep building your contact list.

___Keep contact and membership lists up to date.

___Respond to members' offers and requests.

___Keep contact with members.