Step 4 (continued). Membership - Annual Giving, Getting Started

Graphic shows three members of an environmental organization participating in a tree planting activity with their organization.Members are individuals who agree to pay an annual fee and/or perform certain activities in order to belong to your organization. In turn, your organization offers special benefits or privileges to its members. Building a base of individual members has a number of advantages:

  • Member dues provide a steady, predictable, unrestricted source of funding.
  • Longtime members are excellent prospects for larger gifts, stock donations, and bequests.
  • Members can be asked to volunteer or serve on your board.
  • Members build your visibility in the community and with political leaders.
  • Members provide feedback on your programs.

Before you start a membership program, it is important to consider the following:

  • Starting and building your membership program will require an upfront investment of time.
  • Collecting individual donations requires a system for managing donation and membership information.
  • Outreach materials and newsletters are needed to inform current and potential members about your organization's activities.

Clearly defined membership goals should be set before spending time and money on recruiting new members.

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