Memberships are more powerful than the money you get. Its human nature to want to belong and people can get that feeling by simply having a card (always have a card!). People should only become members as a result of filling in a membership application form. On that form you should capture their name, address, phone number(s) and email address (at a bare minimum). Their email address is a great way to communicate with them. That will help you build the relationship. The relationship aspect of membership is the main reason why it should be on your list of fundraising ideas.
Membership is easier to sell if youve done a good job of getting your message out to the community. Your open day is a great opportunity to encourage people to join. You need to ensure that people are aware of the specific benefits of becoming a member of your organization. In its most basic form membership entitles you to vote on motions at the organizations AGM.
Sometimes there are no additional benefits over and above the fact that by becoming a member, that person is supporting your organization and all of its benefits to the community. That is nothing wrong with that.
We offer our members concession rates for admission to our social functions and they get priority access to tickets for higher division football matches within our parent organization. The perks you add will be dependant on lots of areas such as, the field to which you your organization belongs, the price of the membership and how hard you think it will be to sell it.
Now the question of price! The first thing I want to say is that the vast majority of community organizations sell their membership far too cheaply. The most important thing to remember is that people only really value something when theyve paid a reasonable amount for it. What a significant amount is, only you can decide because everybodys circumstances are different. As an organization we used to charge $10 for adults and $5 for youth and senior citizens. When we raised it to $25 and $10 respectively we noticed that our members began to get more involved.
When selling a membership take time to prepare the materials so that both your volunteers doing the selling and the people buying, know what the benefits are and why it is desirable to be a member. Your volunteers need to be aware of the options in terms of multi-year memberships and any extra benefits associated with those.
You must sell memberships face-to-face, because people generally wont come to you, even your surefire members. Its just human nature. I always assign new volunteers to membership renewals because it makes for a gentle introduction to selling and helps build up their confidence. Remember that when making up a list of fundraising ideas for your younger members.