Membership programs are a great way to help your organization grow. They can be a source of revenue, and they also serve as a tool to build community and foster engagement among members. The key to running an effective membership program is having a solid plan in place before going into it. This article will walk you through how to create that plan so that when you launch your membership campaign, it will be successful.


Create a vision for how you want your program to run

As a founder or leader of an organization, you need to create a vision for how your membership program or consortia will run. This vision is the foundation of your membership program, and it should be shared with other key members of your team in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Your organization’s mission statement can help guide you as you create this vision by providing clarity about what you want to achieve with your membership program or alliance. The main goals for creating a vision include:

  • It should be realistic and attainable
  • It should align with your organization’s values
  • It should reflect who your members are


Decide what kind of benefits members will get for joining your organization

The first step in creating a membership program is deciding what kind of benefits your members will get for joining. It’s important to make sure that the benefits are relevant to their needs and interests, as well as providing value so that they want to maintain their membership. Also, it’s important that you think about how these benefits align with your organization’s mission. For example, if you are an organization whose mission is to help children reach their full potential through education, giving away free books might be an effective way to provide value while also making sure that people know what type of work you do and why they should support it.


Set goals for how many members you want to recruit and how much money you want to raise from membership dues

Set goals for the number of members you want to recruit and how much money you want to raise from membership dues. Be realistic about your goals. If you’re starting off with minimal funding, don’t aim too high. The last thing you want is to have a successful membership program or association only to realize that it can’t sustain itself because it costs more than expected. Make sure your goals are aligned with your organization’s mission and expenses requirement, as well as the market demand for what you’re offering. Use these factors when making decisions about the type of membership program that would work best for your organization.


Decide what kind of dues structure to have in your membership program

A membership program is a great way to generate recurring revenue, but you have to decide how much you’re willing to charge and how often you want to charge members.

  • The amount of the dues structure is obviously important to consider when creating a membership program; however, there are other considerations as well. For example:
  • How long do you want each membership period (or “term”) to last?
  • How will members be charged for their dues? (annually versus monthly)
  • What happens if someone misses a payment?


Decide on a timeline for launching your membership campaign and make a plan for doing so

When you’re ready to launch your membership campaign, you’ll need to think about when the best time is to start. Consider your target audience and their typical schedule. You may want to do some research on how other companies have approached this kind of program by looking at what they’ve done in the past or by talking with industry experts. Once you’ve decided when the best time for launching would be, create a timeline for getting things started and make sure everyone associated with the project knows when each step needs to take place. If someone is working on PR efforts, they might need help from others in marketing or sales so they can coordinate effectively and make sure everyone stays on track with deadlines. It’s also important that members know what’s going on with their membership accounts as they pay dues on time each month, quarter, or year so they can budget accordingly. 


Develop a budget for your membership program based on your goals and their costs

One of the most important steps in creating a membership program is to establish a budget. The amount you spend depends on the goals you have, as well as how much those goals will cost to achieve. In other words, it’s important to set your expectations before you start down this road—and even more so if you’re running other businesses at the same time. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how much money should be allocated for a membership program.

As with any investment decision, there are no set rules when it comes to setting up your initial budget for a membership program—but generally speaking, you can start with between $10k-$20k (or between 1% – 2% of annual revenue). If this seems like too much or not enough for your company at this stage in its development, consider whether there are ways within your existing budget structure that could allow room for new initiatives such as these without requiring drastic changes elsewhere within operations or staff.


Raising Funds and Recruitment

Membership programs can play an important role in raising funds and recruiting volunteers. For example, you might use membership fees as a way to market your program and recruit new donors. A membership program can also be used to recruit event participants or prospects for your business. Finally, membership programs can be used to host events which are a great way to network with industry experts, potential recruits, and donors.



Membership programs can be a great way to grow your organization and raise money. They are also a fun way to engage with members who are passionate about your mission, and they create an atmosphere of camaraderie among those who join. Offering a membership program with many benefits will promote retention and make members glad they joined up. Membership programs are an excellent model to impact organizational goals when considering membership satisfaction at the forefront.


More About IEEE-ISTO

ISTO was established in January 1999 to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing technology alliances, consortiums, technology associations, and working groups. ISTO provides the infrastructure and support for market standards, industry standards development and/or market adoption of emerging technologies. Our offerings like technology association management, not for profit alliance management, member satisfaction, IT industry standards, are diverse, comprehensive, and customizable to address all your program’s needs. 


Contact us today for more information on how we can impact our organization: