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How to Host a Member Appreciation Week (+ 10 More Ideas!)

Author: Sonia Urlando
November 18, 2022
🕑 10 min read

Your members are the people who turn your mission into a reality—which is why it’s so essential to show member appreciation! Inspiring positive feelings in your members keeps them connected to your cause, and motivates them to keep giving.

Members who feel valued by your organization will:

  • Be more likely be engaged
  • Recommend your nonprofit to colleagues and friends
  • Consistently renew their membership

So, how can you do that for your members? (Other than handing out Starbucks cards willy-nilly!)

From holding a week of special activities to spotlighting your supporters, there are all sorts of ways you can show your gratitude. That’s why we’ve set up a guide to running a virtual member appreciation week—plus TEN more member appreciation ideas!

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Our Favorite Member Appreciation Idea: Host a Virtual Appreciation Week

Of all of the member appreciation ideas, hosting a virtual appreciation week is one of our absolute favorites! One day of appreciation is a great start, but dedicating a full week gives your members a whole bunch of activities to choose from.

Here’s everything you need to know to make your virtual events a success:

Why Host a Member Appreciation Week?

A member appreciation week is the perfect way to show your members how much you value them. Having a full week of activities gives your members their choice of activities and perks, all of which are designed to make them feel special. Plus late-comers can always join in if they missed the initial advertising.

In-person activities can help you get involved with your local community, but going virtual helps you connect with members all over the world! With a strong social media strategy, you can even bring in NEW members over the course of the week.

A virtual member appreciation week can help you save costs, generate new ideas and make your organization really shine.

Let’s look at how to make it happen!

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

How to Host a Virtual Member Appreciation Week

So you’re ready to get started on your virtual member appreciation week!

Here’s how to rock it in 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Activities

First off, think about activities that will be valuable to your particular membership! After all, every organization’s target members have different needs.

A professional development association’s members might offer advice for virtual networking, while education association members might prefer a free webinar. Pickleball club members might look for discounts at a local sports store, but business owner association members would prefer marketing training.

Think about why your members joined up with your organization above all others! This will help you figure out the way to give them additional value.

Based on your budget and member interests, here are a few ideas you might want to try:

Virtual Events

  • Mail over onsite snacks, treats, and small gifts or swag
  • Onsite headshots
  • Networking happy hour
  • Virtual Q&A with your president
  • Free professional workshops or trainings
  • Award ceremony

Other Online Appreciation Tactics

  • Feature loyal members in the newsletter and social media
  • Social media campaign to celebrate members
  • Free webinars
  • Online contests and give-aways
  • Discounts or vouchers to local businesses or services
  • Discounts on upcoming conferences

Step 2: Set the Date

If you haven’t planned a virtual event before, make sure you give yourself enough time to get everything set up!

If you’re just running simple activities, a month is plenty of time—but if you’re coordinating with a bunch of different speakers, you’ll need more than that. We recommend giving yourself at least three months to:

  • Schedule staff and volunteers
  • Plan out member features
  • Secure potential speakers
  • Design and order your member goodies

No matter what activities you choose, be sure to feature the accomplishments and loyalty of select members! Brainstorm with your team on who you plan to highlight nice and early. Once you’ve made your picks, reach out to these members for headshots and possible updates.

You might even want to reach out to their close network to help tell their story!

Step 3: Create Some Buzz

Once your main activities are in place, it’s time to spread the word. Start by creating a webpage or blog post, and include announcements in your email newsletter and social media.

Note that it’s okay if you don’t have every activity set in stone while promoting your membership appreciation week. You can even provide teasers of member features and the types of events members can look forward to.

If you are implementing a social media campaign, be sure your members and their network are aware of how they can take part. Getting them to share your campaign can expand your nonprofit’s reach, and get even non-members interested!

Step 4: Launch your Membership Awareness Week

It’s go time! Keep promoting your activities through email and social media so that late-comers can still join in on the end-of-week activities. Sharing pictures of each day’s activities on your social media platforms will build excitement.

Most importantly, have fun! This is a celebration of those at the heart of your organization: your members.

Step 5: Recap your Week

When your member appreciation week is done (and I’m sure it will be a wild success!), send out a recap via email, your social media and your blog.

If you did any live-streaming, re-upload the video so that members who couldn’t attend live can still see it, and share it out as well. Thank your members for taking part and boosting the week’s highlights—this ensures that if some of your members missed out on the fun, they’ll be sure to tune in for the next one!

Read More: How to Write a Volunteer Thank-You Letter That’s Actually Meaningful (+ Template)

Three Great Examples of Member Appreciation Weeks

Need a few more ideas? Here are three examples of our favorite member appreciation weeks hosted by associations and member-based organizations.

Although you’ll see that some of their activities are in-person, they can easily be transitioned to virtual ones.

Schaumburg Business Association

The Schaumburg Business Association packs their membership appreciation week with activities tailored for its professional members. This includes one-on-one meetings with an attorney (which you could do via video call), lunch with the SBA president and complimentary headshots. They also provide discounts to local businesses throughout the week!

A weekly schedule listing out member appreciation events by the day along with which deals are going all week.

YMCA of the Peaks Region

The YMCA of the Peaks Region shows their membership appreciation with all kinds of member goodies provided right on site. Throughout the week, members receive complimentary YMCA swag and treats, and can take part in special events like a night glow swim and rock climbing.

The YMCA's header noting it is member appreciation week.

The YMCA's list of activities by day for member appreciation week, split between the Downtown branch and the Garden Ranch branch.

College Sports Information Directors of America 

The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSida) appreciate their members through an annual #ThankYourSID social media campaign.

Throughout CoSIDA Membership Recognition Week, those who interact with collegiate athletics communications professionals share social media messages of appreciation and celebration for athletics communications staff members. CoSida also features several members on their own social media platforms and website.

CoSida banner with the #ThankYourSID hashtag. It is branded with CoSida's logo.

A continuation of CoSida's member appreciation post, with images of multiple athletic directors' faces and their names.

10 More Top Member Appreciation Ideas

Not able to plan a full week of online activities right now? That’s totally fine!

Regularly thanking your members doesn’t have to take a lot of planning or cost a great deal. You can still host individual appreciation events, or send members smaller tokens to show how much they mean to you.

Here are 10 more ways you can show member appreciation regularly, most of which are free or budget-friendly!

1. Say the Magic Words

Everyone loves hearing thank you!

Be sure to send a quick thanks when your members:

  • First join your membership program
  • Complete their membership renewal
  • Provide a referral
  • Speak at an event
  • Attend a committee meeting

While email is the quickest way to thank your members personally, you can also send a hand-written note in the mail or even make a phone call for that extra personal touch! Having your president or executive director sign thank you notes or make those phone calls will make your members feel even more special.

2. Offer Gifts to Active Members

Find the loyal members that are super active in your organizations. These are the people who consistently renew, regularly take part in programs, speak at events or actively participate on your social media.

Consider giving these members tokens of appreciation like gift cards or gifts. You could also provide a perk like a discount to your next virtual conference to the top ten most active members in your organization. This might help encourage a little friendly competition as well!

3. Put Them in the Spotlight

Want to showcase your members’ achievements? Start a member of the month program, where you highlight members on social media and in your email newsletter!

You can feature active members who just had a significant achievement, are doing extraordinary work in their field or maybe hit a major year milestone as a member of your organization.

Want some inspiration? Check out this example from the APHE:

a Member Spotlight of Josie Espinoza, a woman holding pictures of animals in front of a group of young children in a classroom. She is being celebrated for educating children about animal welfare.

4. Send a Little Something Extra

Who doesn’t love getting mail? Sending a little holiday note is a great way to let members know you’re thinking of them. If you have it in your budget, consider sending a holiday gift to members, like a small tin of cookies!

Plus, you don’t have to stick to the big winter holidays to send a note. If your organization is celebrating a significant milestone or achievement, like your anniversary or a record number of members, you can send a letter of celebration to your members for that as well.

5. Reach Out on Their Special Day

If you have a member database, all your members’ birthdays should be recorded—and what’s more personal than a “Happy Birthday” on your special day? Have your president or CEO sign birthday cards to mail, or ask your staff to write a special message to send as an e-card. If you have a volunteer committee, you could task them with making birthday calls to members.

If your budget allows, you could also send along a small gift card or discount to a local business to use during their birthday week. (The free Starbucks drink is always a great choice for a birthday perk!)

6. Ask Members One Simple Question…

Want members to feel that you value their contributions?

Just ask them one simple question:

“Is there anything our organization can be doing better?” 

Don’t underestimate the power of member feedback. Asking members to weigh in on your organization makes them feel like they have a stake in its future.

Check in about their experience at a recent conference, or ask about ideas for other events and activities. And you don’t have to stop at one question! You can send a quick member satisfaction survey or offer a small gift card as an incentive for a short feedback phone call.

Of course, asking for evaluation is just the first step in creating a better experience for your members. Acting on and implementing initiatives based on your members’ feedback is the final step in showing them that their thoughts are truly appreciated.

7. Host Volunteer-Led Appreciation Meetups

Your volunteers can offer unique support when it comes to membership appreciation. These are the people who show their care for your organization by sharing their most valuable resource: their time.

Your members provide you with regular donations—and if they’re enjoying your program, they also spread the word about your organization. A meet-up gives these supporters a network of like-minded people to connect with.

With the enthusiasm of your volunteers behind you, your members just might choose to go the extra mile and either increase their donation or offer up some volunteer hours. Your members became members instead of donors because they want to regularly connect with your nonprofit. Show your appreciation by giving them more opportunities to get involved!

Speaking of which…

8. Provide Multiple Ways to Get Involved

Don’t limit your members by only giving them one option for getting involved. People have different wants, needs and schedules. One person’s ideal opportunity could be another’s major inconvenience!

Providing multiple ways to get involved with your nonprofit shows your members that you appreciate their unique circumstances, and are happy to have them in whatever capacity they can show up for.

Some ways they can get involved include:

  • Posting on social media with your nonprofit’s hashtag
  • Volunteering at virtual or in-person events
  • Doing some peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Having their company set up a matching donation program

Your members want to know they matter. Asking for their help shows that you trust them!

9. Actively Track Individual Engagement Histories

No one volunteer is the same as the other. Treating this community like a monolith will make them feel like numbers rather than people, and lose you opportunities to build donor stewardship.

Track your members’ individual engagement histories, and target your messaging based on that information! If someone has lapsed in their payments, reach out and find out what’s happened. If someone is actively involved on social media and in your events, spotlight them to show their enthusiasm matters!

Keeping track of these details doesn’t just get you valuable data on giving patterns—it also gives you an opportunity to deepen your connection with your members. As you explore your member appreciation ideas, remember to treat each member as a valuable individual.

10. Offer Perks in Exchange for Engagement

Perks perks perks! Even as adults, everyone loves to get a sticker. Reward your most active members with perks to show your gratitude.

These perks could include:

  • Small gift cards
  • Discounted event tickets
  • Branded swag
  • End-of-year awards

Be sure to advertise these perks on social media! This can inspire other members (or prospective members!) to get more involved. Plus, it’s one more way to show your most engaged members that you’re proud to have their support.

Wrapping Up

If you want to retain members in the long run, showing member appreciation goes a long way. It’s always exciting to bring in new members, but if you lose them every year, that’s more work for you to keep recruiting! A group of highly loyal members are worth their weight in gold.

Aside from being a steady stream of revenue, cultivated relationships with your members are the foundation of your community. And what’s a cause without a community behind it?

Once you thank your members for being here and give them more opportunities to get involved, you’re going to want some membership management software to keep up with these new connections!

WildApricot can help you build your membership website, manage your member database, automate your emails, process your payments and more. Take the tedious work out of managing your members so you can go back to brainstorming membership appreciation ideas!

Sign up for a 60-day free trial to see what we’re all about.

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