25 Members' Benefit Ideas to Attract and Retain More Members

Membership November 12, 2021

Sayana Izmailova

By Sayana Izmailova

Your members are the lifeblood of your organization. They’re the reason why you do what you do and they’re what keeps your organization running. The more of them join, the better you’re able to act on your mission and make a difference in your community. 


But why should members join? What are they getting in return?


If you’re struggling to come up with membership benefits that your members would value—or maybe you already offer membership benefits, but they’re getting a little stale—read on to discover 25 members’ benefit ideas that are quick and easy to implement. 


Not all of them will be applicable to your specific type of organization, but there’s certainly something for everyone. Try offering them to your members and watch your membership numbers grow to record-breaking heights. 

What Are Member Benefits?

Member benefits are the perks, services, and access that members receive as part of their membership. In other words, they’re what members get in exchange for joining the organization and, if applicable, paying member dues. 


Great member benefits should help your organization achieve three things:


  1. Attract new members: the best member benefits act as an incentive for more people to join your organization.

  2. Keep existing members engaged: when members are engaged, they help advance your organization’s mission by actively participating, giving feedback, and bringing in new members.

  3. Retain existing members: when members see value in their membership, they’re more likely to renew and stick around year after year. 

Cut To the Chase: What Are GOOD Membership Benefits?

What’s considered a good members’ benefit depends largely on the type of organization you run and what your members value. For example, if you run a trade association, your members would probably love to have access to a job board where they can search for new opportunities. However, if you run an association for local foster parents, they probably wouldn’t have much interest in a job board that’s not industry specific. 


We’ll go over our favorite ideas later in this article, but no matter how great a members’ benefit sounds, remember to always check whether or not it actually makes sense for your organization and your members

But How Do I Make Sure I Have the BEST Membership Perks?

The best way to make sure your member benefits provide value to your members is, of course, to ask them! Keep an open line of communication and encourage your members to regularly provide you with feedback. 


This can be through surveys where you ask members to evaluate how happy they are with their current benefits and whether or not they’d like to see any changes. You can also keep an ongoing “suggestions box” on your website where members can submit new ideas for what benefits they’d like to see offered in the future. 

How Do I List & Promote Member Benefits?

Even the best membership benefits won’t do much for your organization if no one knows about them. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to make sure your benefits are well known to current and prospective members:


  • Include a link to your list of member benefits right on the homepage of your website. Use photos and a prominent button to draw attention to it. Be sure to also include a prominent link to the membership benefits page in your header, so it always stays visible, no matter what page the site visitors are on. 

  • When you introduce a new members benefit, let everyone know via an email campaign.

  • Include a brief summary of member benefits in every newsletter.

  • Let your members tell their story—share testimonials from your current members about how much they value their membership and the benefits they receive.

  • Introduce a referral program and provide your members with a brief one-pager on membership benefits that they can share within their networks.

  • Take advantage of promotions, discounts, and limited time offers. For example, a limited buy-one-get-one-free membership offer will entice people to join together with a friend.

  • Promote your membership benefits and offers on social media. 


25 Membership Benefits Ideas

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at 25 membership benefits ideas that you can implement at your organization.

1. Networking Opportunities

Members join your organization to feel a sense of community, to meet new people, and find opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Make this easy for them by providing opportunities to network, engage with each other, and share meaningful conversations. For example:

 

  • Organize small networking events (in-person, virtual, or hybrid).

  • Open up an online chat room where members can discuss common interests.

  • Set up 1-on-1 coffee dates for members to meet and get to know each other.

2. Industry Breakfasts

If you run a professional association, your members will appreciate opportunities to learn something new, broaden their industry knowledge, and grow professionally. You can do this by hosting industry breakfasts with a learning and a networking component. For example:

 

  • Ask willing members to take turns presenting a topic they’re passionate about or have a lot of experience in.

  • Invite an accomplished industry professional to give a presentation to your members.

  • Invite members to watch an educational video and complete a group assignment that will help them better retain the new information, as well as build relationships with each other.

3. Association or Organizational Awards

Giving out awards makes your members feel seen, valued, and appreciated. It’s a great way to thank them for their support and participation. As a bonus, members who receive awards often share the news with their networks, helping to promote your organization to more people. For example, you can give awards to members who:

 

  • Have been around the longest.

  • Have attended the most events and/or meetings.

  • Have volunteered the most hours.

4. Member of the Month

Another way to recognize active and engaged members is to include a “Member of the Month” feature on your website and/or newsletter. It’s a great way to show your appreciation for your most committed members and inspire others to participate more actively. You can:

 

  • Select a member to feature on your own, based on their contributions and participation.

  • Select a member randomly, just to share their story and introduce them to the rest of the community.

  • Have other members nominate a “Member of the Month” and feature the member with the most nominations.

5. Feature Members on Your Membership Website

Shining a spotlight on one “Member of the Month” is not the only way to feature members on your website. You can also:


  • Feature any members with big news or accomplishments worth celebrating.

  • Feature members randomly, just to encourage members to get to know each other and see if they have any common interests.

  • Invite people to apply to be featured, in case they want to promote their company or small business.

6. Member Milestones

You can also shine a spotlight on members who’ve achieved a certain milestone. For example, members who:

 

  • Have been with your organization for 5, 10, 15 years, and so on. 

  • Have volunteered X number of hours.

  • Have raised X amount in donations through peer-to-peer fundraising. 

7. Contests & Challenges

Invite members to participate in contests and challenges, then award the winners a highly coveted prize. For example:

 

  • Who can collect the most donations from their friends and family?

  • Who can refer the most new members?

  • Who can come up with a winning idea for your new logo, slogan, event, etc? 

8. Member Coupons & Discounts

Incentivize people to join your membership by offering discounts on things that are more expensive for non-members. For example:

 

  • Admit members to events for free, while asking non-members to pay.

  • Offer your quarterly publication for 50% off to members, while asking non-members to pay full price.

  • Offer your merchandise at a discount to members. 

9. Local & Community Partnerships

Partner with local businesses and organizations to offer even more discounts and opportunities to your members. For example:

 

  • Set your members up with a 10% off coupon at the restaurant next door to your meeting place.

  • Set your members up with a free pass to a local industry event

  • Find another membership organization whose mission aligns with yours and offer your members their membership at a discounted price (and vice versa). 

10. Corporate Partnerships

Give your members even more perks with corporate partnerships. Your members benefit from discounted prices, while the companies benefit from being your members’ preferred suppliers. For example, you can offer:

 

  • Discount on industry standard software.

  • Discounts on office supplies or industry specific tools and equipment. 

  • Discounts on travel and accommodation.

11. Volunteering & Community Service Projects

Bring members together through shared volunteer projects and let them build relationships, while giving back to their community. For example:

 

  • Organize a neighborhood clean up day.

  • Organize a food drive.

  • Host a fundraising event and give the proceeds to a local charity. 

12. Career Advice & Support

Set your members up for success by providing them with resources and support. For example:

 

  • Include a page on your website where you list valuable resources, courses, and publications.

  • Set up a hotline or email address that members can use to ask career-related questions.

  • Offer services like resume & cover letter editing and mock-interviews. 

13. Mentorship Programs

Start a mentorship program and set up a structured way for mentors and mentees to meet on a regular basis. They can use their mentoring sessions to:

 

  • Exchange ideas and share relevant information or resources.

  • Set career goals and create plans of action.

  • Identify roadblocks and ways to overcome them.

14. Member Directory

Set up a private or public member directory on your website. Members can use it to:

 

  • Network with each other and build relationships.

  • Find fellow members with common interests. 

  • Promote their own services or businesses and attract new clients. 

15. Job Board

If you run a professional or trade association, your members will appreciate having access to an industry specific job board. They can use it to:

 

  • Post openings and find new hires.

  • Find new job opportunities.

  • Stay on top of the latest opportunities, even if they aren’t necessarily looking right at this moment. 

16. Online Membership Community

Give your members access to an online community where everyone—members, staff, volunteers, board members, etc—can come together in one place, no matter where they live. Your members can use it to:

 

  • Engage, socialize, and network with each other

  • Stay on top of the latest updates from your organization

  • Share resources and important news 

17. Maintain an Easy-to-Access Event Calendar

Include an event calendar on a public or member-only page of your website, so that your members always know what’s coming up. In it, you can include things like:

 

  • In-person, virtual, or hybrid events.

  • Member meetings

  • Important deadlines

  • Webinars or live trainings

18. Free Virtual Events

Give your members the opportunity to learn and grow in an easy, convenient way by offering free virtual events they can attend from anywhere. These can be:

 

  • Webinars

  • Panel discussions

  • Live trainings

  • Case studies

19. Share Hyper-Valuable Member Content

Your members join your organization to learn something new, discover better ways of doing things, and stay up to date on things that matter to them. You can help them achieve this by publishing exclusive valuable content like:

 

  • A blog

  • A newsletter

  • A monthly or quarterly publication

  • Weekly videos

  • A podcast 

20. Organize a Conference

Conferences are the ultimate opportunities for members to sharpen their knowledge, gather new ideas, get inspired, and make new connections. You can let your members attend for free, or at a substantial discount, while charging non-members regular price. Be sure to:

 

  • Attract attendees with a notable keynote speaker

  • Give them lots of options in terms of which sessions to attend

  • Create opportunities to breakout into small groups to facilitate networking

21. Flexible e-Learning

Give your members a chance to take advantage of professional development opportunities on their own time and at their own pace. You can do this by offering flexible e-learning options via an online Learning Management System (LMS). With an LMS, you can:

 

  • Host online educational content

  • Track credits and manage certification programs

  • Issue certificates of completion

22. Offer Certifications

Professional certifications are valuable assets to your members, as they can help them advance their careers. Use an LMS to provide training and issue certifications that members can then use to:

 

  • Land a new role

  • Take on a new project in their current job

  • Take on more responsibility and get a promotion

23. Make Room for VIPs

Rather than offering the same benefits to all your members, introduce different tiers into your membership model. Members who pay a higher price can receive extra benefits, such as:

 

  • Access to more resources

  • Higher discounts with partnering organizations

  • Free admission to events

  • Exclusive VIP events

24. Emeritus Status

To honour members who've been around for a very long time but have now retired, offer them an Emeritus status to let them know how valuable they are. They won’t have to pay member dues anymore, but can have access to the same or slightly modified benefits as everyone else. 

25. In-Person, Hybrid, and Remote Options

When creating your membership benefits packages, be sure to include a variety of options that can be accessed both in-person and remotely. For example, avoid offering a package that consists of only in-person activities. If someone is unable to attend, they won’t find any value in their membership. 


So there you have it! Which of these membership benefits do you already offer to your members and which ones are you thinking of introducing? Let us know in the comments! 

 

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