Stewardship, Fundraising and Advocacy – What’s Working Right Now?

Our very own Dana Hines and Alicia Lifrak joined Mike Fulton of the Asher Group on April 7 to discuss what’s working and what’s not working right now during the global pandemic.

The discussion, which was moderated by Cyndi Greenglass from our sister company Diamond Communication Solutions, explored traditional, online and virtual tactics that can be employed by nonprofits in order to stay engaged with constituents without in-person experiences.

Specific topics included:

  • Helping clients develop innovative, virtual advocacy and communications strategies to reach and motivate elected officials and government regulators during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond in the absence of face-to-face communications.
  • Navigating the “new normal” with an industry roadmap to finding stability and a course to recovery from human services to health care to cultural institutions – the path ahead is riddled with uncertainty, but nonprofits are not totally unprepared to meet the moment for the third largest employment sector in the U.S.
  • Thoughtful strategies and tactics on the way forward for membership departments at visitation-based cultural organizations including planning, communicating and engaging audiences in uncertain times.

Watch the recording here.

Have questions concerning what you should be doing with your membership program right now? Contact us with the form below and we’ll get back to you soon!

Membership Consultants – a 25 Year Perspective and Celebration!

Membership Consultants celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012! To commemorate that milestone we will take on 25 membership topics – looking back and looking forward – presenting a topic each week between now and the end of our anniversary year via our blog. We invite you to celebrate with us and weigh in on your membership experiences and opinions.

Membership Consultants was created 25 years ago to share expertise on managing membership programs with all types of membership organizations of all sizes. In that time we have sponsored over 60 seminars, trained over 1,000 membership and development professionals, presented more than 50 sessions at AFP, AAM, AZA at regional and national conferences. We have served hundreds of clients, performing thousands of membership campaigns, sold hundreds of thousands of memberships on behalf of those clients, raising millions of dollars. Most importantly, we have helped connect people to wonderful causes and missions that they care deeply about. In our own way, we have made a difference by helping others make a difference.

In the past 25 years, everything has changed and nothing has changed. What has not changed is that no membership program will succeed without a plan and winning strategies. Membership growth will not happen without the backing – financial and philosophical – of the leadership and without an organization-wide commitment. Membership programs need strong acquisition and renewal strategies, a good product – both in the form of the organization it serves and benefits to offer – and quality customer service.

What has changed in 25 years is the means by which we perform our membership jobs. Technology – from our databases to the use of the Internet and electronic media – have made our membership jobs both easier and yet more complicated. Membership transactions – the way people join or renew – are greatly enhanced. The timing of the membership decision is more immediate. And communications, always key to engagement, is much more economical, but at the same time more difficult to break through because of so much competition.

Follow us for the next 25 weeks as Membership Consultants shares its perspective on 25 hot topics, visions for the future and just known truths of successful membership programs. Happy Anniversary to us!

Membership Consultants’ Pulse of Membership Survey 2010

SurveySummary ALL FINAL

(click above for link to survey results)

Membership Consultants has been surveying Membership Managers about their membership programs for the past three and a half years, since the economy began its downturn. By monitoring the successes and challenges of the managers included in our survey pool, we are able to provide this snapshot view of how various programs stack up against their peers.

Membership Consultants has been serving the membership community for the past 24 years, providing an array of membership marketing services. For more information or to request a proposal go to or contact us at

Pulse of Membership 2011

“Life is not about weathering the storm, but rather about learning to dance in the rain.”

And dancing in the rain is what the most successful membership programs have been able to do in the recent past!

For the past three years Membership Consultants has been surveying membership professionals across the country on their experiences managing membership programs.

The surveys began at the first hint of the recession to gauge how the economy was effecting membership programs and the non- profit organizations they represent.

The survey results provide a very good snapshot of how programs weathered the recession storm and are now rebounding…and the resilience of our members and the people who manage these vital fundraising engines for the worthwhile causes they represent.

Here is a current and historical look at the pulse of many membership programs…

Comparing membership totals at the end of most recent year to membership totals at the end of the previous year, respondents said their membership totals…

2008 2009



47% 39%


Decreased 42% 47%


Stayed the same 11% 13%


Comparing membership revenues at the end of most recent year to membership totals at the end of the previous year, membership revenues…


2009 2010


58% 43%



28% 46%


Stayed the same 14% 10%


Comparing membership expenditure budget at the end of most recent year to membership totals at the end of the previous year, membership budgets…





24% 11%



37% 43%


Stayed the same

39% 45% 48%

In acquiring new members last year vs. the prior year, you acquired…




More new members

41% 42%


Fewer new members

37% 34%


About the same

20% 27% 19%

Membership managers report that all sources of new member acquisition have improved in 2010 over previous years, including direct mail, on-site sales and gift membership programs.  Use of direct mail for acquiring new members has remained steady at 75%, while 90% report using on-site sales.  The use of referral programs such as member-get-a -member campaigns and employee referral programs has declined.  Use of online campaigns has increased in recent years from 51% in 2007 to 63% currently.

Comparing membership renewal rates last year to previous years…





23% 31%



41% 34%


Stayed the same

34% 34%


Renewal rate distribution has improved slightly with fewer managers reporting renewal rates under the 60% mark…

Renewal Rates

2008 2009


70% and higher

30% 30%


60% to 69%

35% 30%



29% 30%


Don’t know

5% 10%


Means of renewing Members:

Direct mail letter packages still lead the pack with 90% of respondents using letters to renew members. Use of postcards has declined from 21% to 16%, but e-mail renewals have increased from 53% in 2007 to 64% currently.  One-third of the programs reported using the telephone to renew members and 72% get people to renew on site.