Memberships can be a powerful way for your organization to increase donor loyalty and the size of gifts. As discussed in Memberships and Named Gift Opportunities nonprofit memberships tend to fall into two general categories:
For both of these types of memberships, FundRaiser software can be of great assistance to you in accomplishing the tasks associated with them.
In fee-based memberships, people are given the opportunity to join your organization, usually at a certain level, by paying a fee. In exchange, they receive certain benefits, which may depend on the level of membership they choose.
Related to the fee-based memberships are those memberships that are stipulated in the by-laws of an organization. The management issues related to these types of memberships are very much like those of regular fee-based memberships.
Management issues related to fee-based memberships have to do with following up on membership due dates, tracking benefits, and watching for signs that certain members may have an interest in being more deeply involved in your organization. For by-law memberships, there may also be special stipulations such as the need to give advance notice for meetings, and to have a certain number of members in quorum.
For development purpose, there is another type of membership called philanthropic membership. Philanthropic membership is a recognition tool, used to convert prospects into donors and to increase the size of gifts.
For philanthropic memberships, the most important features are ones that allow you to identify major donor prospects and support those who are asking for gifts with background information. In addition, you can get some help in following through on commitments you make regarding, such as putting up a name plaque on the wall of recognition in the lobby of your new building.
For both types of memberships you’ll want to be able to:
FundRaiser helps you achieve these core membership management tasks in the following ways:Important information at your fingertips
Usng the Membership Management module in FundRaiser Select and Professional, you can see each donor’s membership information on a tabbed membership page. This page contains a record for each year that a person is a member. This easily allows you to review their membership history.Ability to segment donor list
Codes are applied to members as they are added, to designate important aspects of their membership such as level of membership, benefits attached to membership, and other codes which can be customized specifically to the needs of your organization. Any of these codes can be used (separately or in combination) to create segments of your membership for reports or correspondence, and to otherwise target portions of your membership base.Easy to manage correspondence
Necessary correspondence can be automatically sent out at the correct time, such as thank you letters, membership renewal notices, notification of membership meetings, or other membership-specific correspondence.Ability to analyze membership data
To track, analyze and keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on with your memberships, FundRaiser has several pre-set membership reports associated with the membership module. It also allows you to create custom reports for your specific needs.Flexibility to meet a variety of needs
While default values are a great help when entering in whatever your ‘normal’ membership is, you can easily override those default values to handle differences. Customizable codes and fields also provide flexibility.
In addition, although both types of memberships share certain common donor management needs, some of the management issues of fee-based and philanthropic memberships differ and are covered in different areas of FundRaiser.
These features are found grouped together in the Membership Management module in FundRaiser Select and Professional.
Here you'll find tools to track membership levels, joining and expiration dates, and membership benefits. In addition, you have options to set default entries for new memberships which saves time and ensures data consistency.
Category codes associated with the membership module, as well as the general category code, will allow yout to segment donors according to membership level, expiration date, benefits, and length of membership.
These details can be easily integrated with automated correspondence so that you can send out timely renewal letters. You can determine who you want to include based on expiration dates, membership codes, and more. Letter templates and the membership merge fields let you automatically include specific membership information in your letters such as expiration dates, dues amounts, and even the length of time someone has been a member.
For memberships required by your organization’s by-laws, FundRaiser can help you to smoothly follow through on special stipulations; for instance, the need to give advance notice on meetings, to include members in votes, or to achieve quorum at certain meetings. The ability to segment your membership list and to integrate it with automated correspondence is of particular importance.
Last, but certainly not least, you can see indications of donor commitment. In particular, membership reports allow you to tell which donors are increasing their membership level, and how long they have been members. This information can then be used to identify major donor prospects or other areas of greater commitment to the mission of your organization.
Features needed to manage philanthropic memberships are the nuts and bolts of FundRaiser: the ones that help you identify major donor prospects and successfully ask them for larger gifts, and are found in all the FundRaiser programs.
Basic donor and prospect information is found in the donor records where it is easy to access and update. Those who are making the ‘ask’, such as donor solicitors, will need as much information about each donor as you can give them. Not just name, address, and phone number, but their giving history, previous contacts, notes and more are all important.
Tools such as category codes and groupings allow you to segment the data. Some kinds of information that you might look for through good segmentation of your donor database would be who has given at a certain level in the past year. FundRaiser keeps track of all donations, so you can create segments based on giving totals during a specified time period. In addition, FundRaiser Select and Professional have specific gift codes that allow you to easily track what motivated a gift, if the gift is earmarked for a particular purpose, and who the gift solicitor was.
Because philanthropic memberships are primarily recognition tools, using the membership module to help you track benefits and membership levels can be helpful. There is plenty of room for adapting the default values for special cases that happen with philanthropic memberships.
Reports allow you to get an overview and analyze what is going on with your philanthropic membership efforts. Specific reports related to donor solicitation can be especially helpful. Armed with the proper information, your solicitors will be better prepared to ask for gift amounts that are in line with past giving, as well as thanking them for past giving using accurate figures.
Other reports in FundRaiser can help you see how well specific solicitors are doing, by showing such information as how many donors are assigned to a solicitor, how many of those have pledged and how much they have pledged.
Membership drives combined with named gift opportunities can energize a campaign and be of great help in soliciting large gifts.
The campaign management features in FundRaiser Professional integrate with the membership features to help you with this aspect of memberships. You can see which donors responded to which events, and track this information so that you can build upon it in the future.
Campaign specific segmentation allows you to send special correspondence, such as special thank you letters, specifically for an event.
Management issues related to pledges also come up in association with campaigns. Pledges are often a critical part of campaign fundraising and are harder to track than outright gifts. There may be a need for ongoing correspondence. Being able to automate much of this correspondence can keep the details of pledge management possible. Using the Pledge Management module in FundRaiser Select and Professional, you can assign several letters to a particular pledge, for instance a thank-you for the initial pledge, a reminder letter to go out later on a regular basis, and an overdue letter that may be sent out from time to time.
Reports that show, in detail or summary, how you are doing in a particular campaign or event and give you lots of information about the participants and sponsorships are also helpful
Whether fee-based or philanthropic, both types of members have shown by their membership a common desire to support your organization. As you nurture that desire, FundRaiser will help track and organize information over the long haul.
The Name is the Game: Memberships and Named Gift Opportunities by Tony Poderis
FundRaiser Software offers non-profit organizations intuitive donor management software that is easy to learn and easy to use. Three programs, ranging from simple to sophisticated, let you choose the features you need now, while guaranteeing a built-in growth path for the future. Software flexibility, budget options, and superb technical support make FundRaiser Software uniquely adaptable to the needs of non-profit organizations - whatever their mission.