In a charity organisation, membership can be of various forms. It also depends on the structure of the organisation. In some cases, membership is referred to as trustee and in others as supporters.
Having membership for supporters is beneficial in various ways:
- Fees against specific benefits: One can charge membership fees, which could be monthly or annual, depending on how extensively members are involved. Thus, this is an additional income. However, there need to be specific benefits too provided to the members. And also the membership can be divided into various categories, under different nomenclatures, such as platinum, gold, silver, bronze, etc., with varying benefits for each category. The fees charged for each could be different. There could be some common benefits say, in the form of material like newsletters; participation in events, gifts developed by organisations like calendars, bookmarks and other stationery. And there could be some special benefits available for only premium members.
- Members as volunteers: Some activities conducted by the organisation may need a huge number of volunteers. Members could be invited as volunteers. Secondly, having volunteers will help in saving cost for the charity organisation that otherwise it would need to spend in paying for salaries. There can be mass-engagement activities which are completely volunteer-run. For example- Oxfam Shop in the UK is one such large volunteer-run initiative. All activities in the shop are completely managed by volunteers.
- Members for advocacy: If your charity organisation works on advocacy-related issues, your members could be the first signatories to any litigation that you file.
- Members as brand ambassadors: Having a strong membership base also helps increase the reach and further strengthen the supporter base as each member could be your brand ambassador, talking about your organisation work and how having the membership has further helped them. This will further help to get more and more members enrolled.
Thus, organisations who have possibilities of offering various types of engagement with individuals should explore initiating supporter membership with a clear detailing out a plan of fees and membership benefits.