29 Tips for Gaining and Retaining a Donor Base
3. Integrate with fundraising. Is membership separate (flat dues) or integrated (graduated dues)? “Value” members are those who come in at the entry membership level. “Support” members are those who give above and beyond the membership fees, and organizations often create special donor clubs for these members.
Other fundraising requests that you can let members know about are matching gifts, gift memberships, tributes, capital campaigns, planned giving, special events, special projects, products and facility rental.
4. Keep flawless records of your donor base. This will help you defend against attrition, a big problem with organizations. Rich said that according to AFP research, essentially for every $5 an organization raises in new gifts, about $5 is lost to attrition.
She said some factors that influence member commitment to an organization are service quality, shared beliefs, personal links to the organization, trust, risk and learning.
The membership program:
5. Benefits. Offer a simple, clear benefits package related to the member, programs or on-site visitation if you have a facility. For a value member, the benefits are an exchange. For support members, the benefits are valuable as well, but usually not the reason they join at the higher amount.
Examples of types of benefits are:
- Member-related — a membership card, decal, bumper sticker or lapel pin; recognition on a wall or in a book; dinners and receptions; discounts in your shop, catalog or online; gift certificates; and logo merchandise.
- Program-related — members-only events; lectures, talks and film programs; meetings with director, curator or a scientist; travel opportunities; reciprocal admission; publications; and a members-only section on your Web site.
- Visitation-related — free or discounted admission; members' line to enter; access during nonpublic hours; guest passes (free or discounted); facility rental; members room; and audio tours (free or discounted).
Other benefits could be frequent-flier miles, discounted magazine subscriptions and discounted hotel/motel/car rental rates (alumni organizations often offer this type of benefit).
6. Service. Strive to provide exemplary service to members. When a person joins, process her contribution in a timely manner and send out a thank-you and welcome package as quickly as possible. Designate a person at your organization who members can talk to if they have questions. And at the institution, treat members like family.