Top Tips for Developing a Membership Strategy  

Top Tips for Developing a Membership Strategy

canstockphoto29720453-1Our guest experts..

  • Alex Youel, Managing Director, Your Membership Matters
  • Matt Harrison, Director, Homeless Link and
  • Heather Black, Managing Director of Economic Change

.. provided some excellent pointers at the Economic Exchange event last week – below we have summarised their top tips for developing a membership model…

Membership should be integral to your strategic business objectives.

  • It’s not a quick fix for a sudden income shortfall
  • Is it the right solution to my business need?
  • What do I want to achieve? What are the goals?
  • Do I have the necessary resources to make this work sustainably?

On average a membership strategy should take 2-3 years to establish and 5 years to see a return.

Overall however, membership models are proven to help boost fundraising, volunteering, visiting, engagement and selling.

Setting up a membership strategy? 

Here are some top tips from our experts.

Strategy Development 

  • Undertake market research with target members to find out their needs and interests. This also starts a soft marketing campaign to drive interest and engagement.
  • Decide on the level of engagement and influence that you want members to have with organisation e.g. marketing, co-design, interaction or governance.
  • Decide on the acceptance criteria for joining as a member which may involve different membership categories.
  • What classifies someone as a member? So, for example depending on the level of engagement or drop-off, especially if you have a free membership rate, where renewals aren’t necessarily activated.
  • Decide on the price of membership V’s the price of charging for additional services to members if your strategy is focussed on income generation.
  • Define a series of benefits that are attractive and affordable and cost effective to deliver.
  • Create membership categories that make sense and are simple to administer.
  • Implement ongoing proper governance to review, adjust and revise pricing and benefits.

Managing  Memberships

  • Implement a database which sufficiently builds a picture about how members engage with you e.g. sales, interactions etc. The chosen database should be easy to use with training, contain reliable, easily accessible and backed up data, allow analysis, enable targeted communications, support data protection and be upgradable in due course.
  • Implement a customer-facing front-end of the database so members can self-service and update their contact details, purchase items, connect with other members via discussions, see a directory of members etc.
  • Implement communication tools and strategy that engages members in the preferred way e.g. e-marketing, self-management area.
  • Define the membership  processes to understand, streamline and formalise how to engage with members in different areas of interaction e.g. sign-up, renewals etc.
  • Allocate sufficient investment for costs – stationery, payment processing, administration e.g. Membership welcome & chasing renewals, cards, products, technology.
  • Hire the right people with a good set of skills – admin, customer and sales service, interpersonal and great writing skills, analytic skills, digital skills, ability to present to senior management, creativity for developing scheme.

Organisations can set up membership strategies to build relationships with individuals or other organisations, and they can take different forms, with some examples listed below:

  • Individuals – Alumni network, ‘Friends of’ schemes, Community of Interest, Professional Accreditation.
  • Organisations – Trade Body, Think Tank, Services to members, Community of Interest.

“A membealex_youelrship should provide benefits that are valuable to the member, for a price they are prepared to pay.” says Alex Youel, Managing Director of Your Membership Matters



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Why build a membership base – check out our previous article

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