Membership Fundraising

Membership Fundraising

Fireweed, Photo: Walt Kaesler

Most non-profit organizations depend to some degree on contributions from individual members. Members are recruited through direct mail, from events, by member-get-a-member campaigns, over the internet, and/or from displayed literature. Typically members are then “renewed” annually through direct mail. They receive newsletters and one or more “special appeals” during the year. Organizations measure growth by increasing membership numbers and by increasing average gifts from members, also known as “upgrading”. Members with significant capacity, and who begin to demonstrate increasing commitment to the organization by giving more money through membership and appeals, warrant a higher level of personal attention from the organization. Such members become the focus of the organization’s “major gifts” program.

Membership recruitment, renewals, and appeals lend themselves to a systematic approach. Techniques for writing and designing letters and response cards are known, and “best practices” exist that produce better than average results. Hence, membership systems lend themselves well to outsourcing.

Description of Service

Through Development for Conservation LLC, I help non-profit organizations get the most out of their membership investment by applying proven techniques to recruitment, renewal, upgrade, and appeal systems. Focused initially on renewals and upgrades, I first work with you to understand who your members are and how they have been giving to your organization. Past renewal rate and average gift data help establish performance baselines. We then agree on annual objectives and set benchmarks for getting there. My system is based on a renewal sequence with four letters and regularized upgrading, but the actual sequence put into place is tailored to meet the culture and needs of your organization.

Benefits to Outsourcing

  • Peace of Mind: You will know that the renewals are getting out and on time.
  • Professional Results: I can produce at least the results you are experiencing now, and most often can improve both the renewal rate and the average gift from membership.
  • Redirection of Effort: Your organizational volunteer and staff time can be redirected to more productive efforts, such as major donor development and grant writing.

Fees and Expenses

I bid my fee on the number of members you have and on their current average gift. The fee includes initial set-up (baseline, objectives, and benchmarking), coordination of letter-writing, and on-going communication of results.