If you asked your members what a benefit looks like to them, you’d likely get many different answers.
Many people join nonprofits for the community. They’re looking to find ways to connect and hang out with “their people” — like-minded folks who have the same interests, care about the same communities, and probably enjoy the same books and Netflix shows.
Others love a good bargain, and they join a nonprofit for the discounts. And you have other members who crave choices and flexibility in their membership options. Finally, you have those members that are all about early access to events, new products, etc.
Membership benefits certainly aren’t a one-size-fits-all, and organizations will offer different benefits based on their membership base. But one thing every nonprofit should know how to do is to let the world know about all the goodies it offers, to attract and retain the right members.
Wondering how you can communicate some of your incredible benefits? Here are a few of our favorite strategies to make your benefits known and get people talking about them.
6 Ways to Put Your Nonprofit Benefits Front-and-Center
1.Be loud and proud about your member benefits by including a link on your homepage.
Pretty much every nonprofit website includes a page dedicated to listing out membership benefits, but we’ve been shocked at how buried that page is on some of the websites we’ve seen. Potential members shouldn’t have to dig through pages of membership tier information or the registration process to discover your benefits.
Instead, consider dedicating a link on your website’s main navigation that will direct people to a clear, bulleted list of some of the most significant benefits and discounts you offer.
Here are a few other elements to consider putting on your benefit web page:
- A spotlight area where you highlight a specific benefit.
- Videos or pictures of your members enjoying their benefits. It could be an image of an event or certain products or services members can take advantage of.
- A quote or testimonial from a member about their favorite member benefit.
- A sign-up section or other opportunities for new members to join.
The Arkansas Wildlife Federation includes a “Become A Member” link on their main navigation that includes a drop-down option for member benefits.
2. Include new or timely benefits and discounts in your email campaigns.
Is your nonprofit organizing a scholarship fund for its student members? Are your partners and sponsors offering a special holiday discount to all members? Tell your members about it in an update email.
Promoting your benefits is one of the many reasons to consider putting together a regular email campaign that keeps members informed and engaged. People’s lives are busy, and even though members are initially excited about the prospect of joining your organization and soaking in all of your great benefits, members sometimes need to be reminded of the value you bring to their lives.
With the right subject lines and the right content, your emails can serve as the personal touch your members need.
3. Create a “Benefit Spotlight” in your newsletters.
Newsletters have become a much-anticipated type of publication for members of nonprofits. And what’s not to love? Newsletters are a way for members to hear from leadership, look at upcoming events and meetings, welcome new members, and more. Take your newsletter to the next level by including a benefit spotlight similar to what you would have on your benefits webpage.
You’ll want to explain the benefit or discount on your member benefit spotlight, explain who qualifies, include any relevant discount codes or instructions, and then make it easy for members and potential members to sign up to receive the benefit.
4. Tell and show people your member benefits.
While a clear list of your benefits and discounts are needed, go beyond the written word to communicate your nonprofit membership benefits.
Video is a great way to capture a member testimonial that talks about the benefits of community forums and meet-ups. And videos can be shared on your website, on social media platforms, emails, and digital newsletters to name a few places.
You can also invite any scholarship recipients or giveaway winners to be featured at conferences or on webinars so members can physically see the impact of your benefits.
ACES: The Society for Editing included a shout–out to the fun that members had at a recent event in their newsletter. It shows community spirit by using an image of real members and asking members who participated to reconnect using a link.
5. Talk about your member benefits at events.
Whether we’re talking about an in-person or virtual event, people come to events ready to learn and willing to connect. They’ve invested their time and money. There’s something about your nonprofit that strikes a chord with them.
Why not remind your members and inform potential members of the positive ways your organization can impact their lives beyond the event? Promoting your benefits at events or during webinars doesn’t have to be “salesy.” You can simply include information about a new benefit as part of the announcements at the end of a webinar or your pre-lunch session. You can also have information about your benefits in your event program.
6. Spread the good word of benefits using social media.
Not only is social an excellent tool for getting the word out about your benefits because pretty much everyone is on at least one social platform, social is great because it allows members to share your nonprofit’s benefits with a click of a button.
Try creating a simple social image highlighting one of your member benefits (e.g., “Members get 15% off a subscription to MasterClass”) and post it across your most popular social media sites. You can then harness the power of your followers to share the good news.
Don’t forget to include a link people can use to quickly join your nonprofit and enjoy their new benefits.
Bicycling in Greensboro, Inc. (BIG) created a social image that promoted a member event. The date and time are clear, including personal photos, and it gives links to learn more at the bottom of the image.
Nonprofit membership benefit ideas for organizations of all sizes.
Now that you know some of the best ways to communicate your membership benefits and discounts, you may be itching to try some new ideas. Here are a few membership benefits nonprofits of all sizes can offer their members:
- Plan a retreat. It can be a one-time special retreat as a way to celebrate the end of the pandemic, or it can be a yearly retreat full of social activities, learning opportunities, and fun ways to relax and connect.
- Offer special grants or scholarships to the student, entrepreneurial, and innovating members that will help them achieve their goals and further your nonprofit’s mission.
- Give the VIP treatment. Include a membership tier that allows for early access to event registration, enable sponsorships, and provide an opportunity to spend time with event speakers or webinar hosts during special happy hours.
- Go retro with a digital coupon book. Remember the thrill of the old coupon books filled with hundreds of dollars of savings at your favorite restaurants and stores? Well, bring it back for your members! And a digital coupon book will allow members to take advantage of your discounts from anywhere.
- Organize regular meetups. Online forums are great, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t beat a face-to-face interaction, even if it’s over a video call. Plan monthly meetups for your members. They can be based on location, interest, or a general meetup. Just be mindful of the size of virtual meetups since too many people in a Zoom call can get overwhelming. And, hopefully soon, we’ll be able to plan in-person meetups and events again.
Shout your member benefits from the rooftop.
Feeling inspired to try new membership ideas? Looking for better ways to talk about your benefits? Reach out with any questions. We’d love to be a part of the action.