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Membership Peer Community

Member recruitment and retention are vital to the success of a philanthropy-serving organizations. Here, you will find sample documents, tips, and tools designed to help your regional association acquire, engage, and renew grantmaker members. 

If you have resources to share, please share them online or by emailing Courtney Moore.

Membership Peer Community

The Membership Peer Community is for those who support membership recruitment and retention efforts at their PSO, manage member benefits, onboard new member organizations and staff/trustees, and manage their organization’s membership database.

  • Membership Listserv 
  • Three round-robin calls per year
  • In-person meeting at Forum’s Annual Conference

Interested in joining this Peer Community? Submit your email address on the form at the bottom of the Our Networks page

Recruitment

As membership organizations, philanthropy-serving organizations are interested in recruiting new members and are always looking for new effective ways to do so. There are a wide range of tools to use and develop to improve recruitment efforts. The best recruitment strategies combine multiple tools including websites and emails, invitation letters, and values of membership documents
 
A collection of membership application templates.
 
Non-member surveys can help your organization gather important information about underserved audiences and pique interest in your organization.
 
Many PSOs create value of membership documents to help showcase what organizations will get out of becoming a member. The techniques and tactics vary across the network.
 
A collection of sample member recruitment letters.
 
A collection of member recruitment plans.
 
Member Benefits Lists
A collection of member benefits.
 
Each PSO sets its own membership criteria. See what types of organizations are eligible for membership at other regional associations across the country.
 
Sample development plan for membership recruitment and retention compiled from examples from across the Network. Items highlighted in yellow were added based on suggestions made during a 2013 conference session.
 
A compilation of links to membership information, member eligibility, and membership applications on each regional philanthropy association's website.
 
Definitions of some of the common foundation types eligible for membership.

Orientation

Once new members have been recruited, they now have to be welcomed into the regional network. This is a time to introduce them to your organization and remind them of the benefits they will now receive as a member. All new members should receive a welcome letter and some regional associations will also send a welcome packet, set up a "New Member Orientation" meeting, conduct a new member survey, or pair up old and new members at events.

Welcome Letter to New Members
A collection of sample welcome letters sent by regional associations to new members.

New Member Cultivation Steps
Check out the steps Delaware Valley Grantmakers takes to cultivate new members.

 

 

Retention

Just as important as recruiting new members is keeping the members you already have. Renewal time provides a great opportunity to reintroduce your regional association to your members by reviewing member benefits and accomplishments of the past year. Many regional associations also send out a thank you letter to all who decide to renew their membership. For those organizations who decide not to renew their membership, an exit survey may prove beneficial to gain a better understanding of why and what improvements you as a regional association can make.

Renewal Invoices
Sample membership renewal applications, forms, and invoices from regional associations of grantmakers.

Membership Development Plan
Sample development plan for membership recruitment and retention at regional associations compiled from examples from across the Network. Items highlighted in yellow were added based on suggestions made during a 2013 conference session.

Membership Surveys
Membership surveys can help determine your members' perception of your organization, generate programming ideas, and yield a clearer picture of who you are serving. These sample surveys have been developed and implemented across the network.

Exit Surveys
A collection of exit surveys conducted by regional associations when a member fails to renew their membership.

Member Check-In/Thank You Calls
Many organizations work with their staff and/or membership committee to schedule calls or in-person visits with current members to thank them for their membership, review the benefits of membership, discuss past and current engagement opportunities, get feedback, etc. 

Membership Dues

Membership dues are an important factor in a membership organization's budget. Look through sample dues structures and procedures for changing dues structures.
 
A compilation of RA dues structures for private foundations separated by region and color coded for certain levels of giving.
 
A collection of sample letters developed by regional associations to announce a dues increase.
 
Resources developed by Philanthropy New York to effectively communicate with their members around a proposed dues increase.
 
A spreadsheet compiling data on dues increases from ten regional associations.