4 Tips to Design Member-Centric Nonprofit Programs
Your members are the very heart of your organization, which is why building and maintaining a strong membership base is so vital to the work you do. Without the engagement of their members, even the most driven and dedicated nonprofit organizations can struggle to achieve long-term success.
But how can you keep your members on board and engaged with your organization? By prioritizing the member experience and creating programs that resonate with their goals and interests. Building a member-centric program means providing value to your members first. Their needs should be at the forefront of everything you do.
Let’s explore how to create a member-centric program that delivers real value to your members by connecting directly with them. Check out these four ideas to make the most of your members’ experience.
1. Deepen Your Understanding of Members
The first step in designing a member-centric program is to get a clear picture of your members’ interests and priorities. Data-driven insights can give you a detailed understanding of your members and how your organization can best serve them.
Here is some data you can collect to get at the core of your members’ needs:
Demographics. Getting a general idea of the demographics of your members can help you segment them according to their differing needs. These demographics include age, gender, location and more.
Reasons for becoming a member. Get a clear idea of what drove members to join your organization. Learning their motivations is key to understanding their priorities.
Involvement history. Some members may be more active in your organization, whereas others are more passive. Learning about your members’ engagement styles will give you a good sense of what types of events and activities to set up as part of your member-centric program.
Preferred benefits. Your organization has a lot to offer, but members value some benefits over others. Younger members or those earlier on in their careers, for example, might be particularly drawn to mentorship programs.
Getting to know your members is the best way to get at the heart of what they value from your organization. So be sure to have a good sense of who exactly your members are and what they need.
2. Strengthen Your Communication Strategy
While your members are united by one mission, it’s important to recognize them as individuals.
One key to strengthening member relationships for your member-centric program is to establish a comprehensive communication strategy with a focus on personalization.
Many nonprofit organizations have found success in maintaining member engagement by personalizing their communications with members. In fact, according to Nonprofit Tech for Good's 2023 report (opens as a pdf), 63% of nonprofits use personalization in their email marketing.
Part of personalization includes segmenting your members. Segmentation allows you to get a better understanding of their needs and communication styles, and will give you the opportunity to send more targeted and relevant messages to each individual.
These personal touches will help your members feel valued for their individual contributions and encourage continued investment in your organization over the course of their membership.
3. Tailor Events and Activities to Members’ Interests
By now, you’ll have a better idea of your members’ priorities and how best to communicate with them. With that fresh understanding of what your members expect out of their membership with your organization, you can now create your program’s events and activities with their desires at the center.
Many members, for example, prioritize connecting with your organization’s community. In fact, according to the "2022 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report," 63% of respondents shared that networking opportunities with others in the field were the main reason they joined an association.
To create a member-centric program that responds to these priorities, your organization might decide to craft events where your members have the chance to interact with one another, like happy hours, or build programs where more experienced members of your organization can mentor those at the beginning of their careers.
Whatever events and activities you choose to include in your program, keeping your members’ interests at the center of your programming will ensure your members stay engaged with your organization.
4. Collect Member Feedback Regularly
Your members' priorities and needs will change over time, so it’s important to continually check in with them. To keep your organization’s programs member-centric, you’ll want to make regular adjustments with member feedback in mind.
Follow up with your members through membership satisfaction surveys to get regular snapshots of your members’ priorities so you can best center them in your program.
By regularly checking in and implementing feedback into your program, you’ll ensure that members continue to remain actively involved with your organization.
Creating a positive member experience and building member-centric programs tailored to their interests are crucial to the success of your organization. By implementing these four tips, organizations can enhance engagement and retention, ensuring that their members remain actively involved and invested in the organization's mission.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Related story: Mission-Centric Membership Marketing in a Data-Driven World