10 Membership Benefits To Offer Your Organization’s Members


When running a membership-based organization, your members are your backbone. 

To create a strong backbone, an even stronger growth and retention strategy is an absolute must. But, with so many other organizations and member experiences on there, how can your membership benefits stand out in the crowd?

Whether you feel like your benefit strategy is getting stale and needs a refresh, or you are starting a membership program from scratch, in this article, you will learn about the tactics you can use to craft a competitive benefits list to attract new members and keep them coming back.  

Let’s go!

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What Are Membership Benefits?

Member benefits are exclusive perks a member gets for joining an organization. After paying their dues, a member receives a membership card that identifies them as a participant. (Learn how to make an online membership card here. Or, use this membership card template.) 

The perks you offer are based on what industry your organization is in and what is important to your target audience. For example, a membership organization for nursing or residency students could offer special discounts for industry publications about medical advances.

Pro Tip: When creating your membership benefits, think about the return on investment (ROI) for both you and your members. What will participants see as the greatest value for their dues? What is truly worth your organization's time, funding, and effort to put into place?


Why Offer Membership Benefits?

By offering membership incentives, you are able to both attract new individuals to join and encourage old ones to renew. Membership perks create value, encouraging members to engage with your association on a deeper level.

membership-benefits-why-offerTrish is pondering offering membership benefits at her nonprofit.

More engagement in your organization also creates a better sense of camaraderie. By building an online or in-person community, your members return again and again for the wealth of resources, tools, and connections they crave.


How To Choose Membership Benefits

Remember that every organization is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all package. The right incentives depend on your specific industry, organization, and target audience. 

To get insight into what would be valuable to those who sign up for your membership, look at what similar organizations offer. Also use this as a time to differentiate your organization from the pack. What considerable benefits can you offer that those associations do not?

Pro Tip: Creating an open line of communication with current members helps you learn more about what they value. Your organization can use surveys, phone calls, suggestion boxes, and more to figure out how to change your benefits package to meet their needs.


10 Membership Benefit Ideas

Below, we break down 10 membership benefit ideas for your association. While doability will depend on your resources, these ideas will help get you started in creating your own program. 

Mentorship Program

A mentorship program allows participants to grow professionally by meeting fellow program participants. 

One way to organize a mentorship program is to have industry leaders as mentors and recent graduates as mentees. Pair each mentor and mentee together through an application process based on location, interests, and years of experience. Before you start the application, find a core group of mentors who are interested in participating. That way, as mentees apply, you will already have mentors to use. 

Your organization could host in-person and virtual events for relationship-building and networking opportunities. However, make sure the program also leaves room for the mentor and mentee to meet on their own. 

Member Directory

A member directory is a great way for your members to communicate and create business referrals. Whether you have hundreds of members or just a few, a digital directory on your website could include personal information, company information, work experience, and other professional organization memberships. 

By displaying a visual list of members on your website, you will show potential candidates that your organization is legitimate and worth joining. The directory will also drive more views and traffic to your website. 

Job Boards

Everyone enjoys landing a great job, so why not incorporate that offering into your membership perks? 

Offer paid members access to an industry-specific virtual job board. To up the viewership of the job board, send email alerts to members when one of them posts a new job. Allow them to customize their alerts based on salary, years of experience, and other categories. 

You could use the job board as a way to entice the public to join your membership association by offering a free view of just a snippet of the board on the public-facing part of your website. Or, you could add an extra revenue stream by allowing members to make their job postings visible to job seekers outside of the association for a small fee. 

Volunteer Opportunities

Many members may appreciate an opportunity to give back to their industry or community. Organize an event with an organization that has a similar mission, and let your members be volunteers. If your organization is not able to host an event, organizing a donation drive is another avenue you can take. 

membership-benefits-ideasCorinne is loving all these membership benefit ideas!

These types of events will not only demonstrate that you are active with philanthropic activities but will also build awareness for your organization. 

Learning Resources

Giving members access to education-related content they can read at their own pace is another way to create loyalty. This shows them that your organization is dedicated to their career growth. 

Many organizations offer an internal knowledge database on their website. Your learning system can include as little or as much as you want. Some examples of helpful member resources include: 

  • Studies

  • Newsletters

  • Blog posts

  • Videos

  • eBooks

Non-Industry Discounts

While we already mentioned giving discounts on industry-specific resources above, you could also offer savings on tangentially related items. For example, if your organization is hosting a conference, you could offer discounts on plane tickets and rental cars for those who need to travel to attend. 

Other discounts could be for:

  • Hotels

  • Insurance policies

  • Office supplies

  • Softwares

Virtual and In-Person Events

Create opportunities for building relationships and forming partnerships through a variety of in-person and virtual events. Populate a calendar with a wide range of events — from happy hours to webinars — so that your members can pick the ones that best suit them. 

Be creative when coming up with your activities. Some unique event ideas include: 

  • Webinars

  • Conferences

  • Happy hours

  • Silent auctions

  • Career fairs

  • Trainings

  • Panel discussions 

If you are able to host a large event, getting media coverage would be another great way to gain recognition for your organization. 

And don’t forget to engage with participants by sending out a list of attendees ahead of time. After it ends, create a quick survey to get feedback about what was valuable and how you can improve in the future. This survey may even spark an idea for a new event. 

Voting Rights

Members want to feel valued, so by allowing them to vote on important changes, you will essentially be giving them a seat at the table to make positive change within your organization. Some ideas for what they could vote on include:

  • Changing membership fees

  • Electing new board members

  • Hosting certain events

  • Creating volunteer opportunities

Free Merch

An easy and fun way to connect to your overall brand is to give out free merch — because everyone loves free stuff. You will no doubt include some merchandise in the member’s welcome packet, but also make sure to send more branded items over the course of the membership. Create a pricing strategy on how much you will spend on free merch, as this influences what you will give out and when. 

Offering valuable items is your best strategy, as it guarantees that your swag does not end up in a landfill. And by distributing branded items, your members’ peers may see your logo and name and want to join. While the ideas are endless for what you could distribute, here are the items we love: 

  • T-shirts

  • Sweatshirts

  • Blankets

  • Beach towels

  • Notebooks

  • Mouse pads

  • Yoga mats

  • Hand sanitizers

  • Duffle bags

  • Reusable shopping bags

  • Reusable straws

  • Portable phone chargers

  • Phone cases

  • Coffee mugs

  • Water bottles 

Member Awards

Offer a website feature on the member of the month or other awards that showcase a member’s expertise in the field. By doing so, you create a sense of community because members get to know each other. 

membership-benefits-ideasAnthony is feeling strong about his membership benefits!

You should also encourage award receivers to share their awards with their company or on their personal social media platforms, as this publicizes your nonprofit. You can even award winners a membership certificate to display. 

Pro Tip: Allow members to get the package that fits their needs and budget by varying accessibility to your perks by tier. For example, the lowest tier might have access to your exclusive content, but you have to go up a tier to get a discount on industry publications. Or, maybe you can only vote on certain topics until you upgrade your tier. Whatever the case, clearly communicate your membership pricing strategy on your website. 


Final Thoughts

Creating a successful perks program helps your members get a return on their investment, which is your best chance of getting them to renew. Perks that save money and grow careers are some of the most desirable. Make sure you clearly communicate the benefits your program has to offer so that current members see value in their membership and potential members are motivated to join. 

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💡Who has access to my organization’s benefits?

Individuals who become members of your organization will gain access to the perks you offer. Find out more. 

🔑 Can I change what membership benefits my organization offers?

Yes! Keep the membership experience fresh and exciting by changing up the offerings every so often. You can determine what to change by soliciting feedback from members. Find out more. 

📝 Can I offer networking opportunities to my members?

Absolutely! Networking opportunities, such as happy hours and mentorship programs, can foster relationships and friendships that will extend far beyond your organization. Find out more.

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