4imprint, LLC

| Updated: January 06, 2021

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, 1.5 million U.S. nonprofits are currently competing for donor funds. This can make recruiting and maintaining nonprofit memberships a challenge.For some effective ideas on increasing renewal rates and recruiting new donors to your organization, keep reading. And if your nonprofit organization doesn’t offer memberships, many of these ideas can apply to non-member-based fundraising as well.

Keep your members happy

Membership-based nonprofits see many advantages, such as heightened loyalty, greater member involvement and increased gift size. Don’t let your cherished members slip away; retain them by following these simple tips.

Create urgency

At your next fundraising event or gala, create a sense of urgency in those who renew or join that day by offering a special perk. Consider a discounted membership or free gift, like a logo’d wine set or a combo Tablet or Recipe Book Stand. This concept can work for non-member based organizations, too—instead of rewarding for renewals, reward for donations.

Convey the benefits

When renewals come due, or during your next member drive, be sure to promote the benefits of belonging to your organization. For instance, does membership provide access to a members-only newsletter, unrestricted use of resources on your website or admission to special events and outings? If so, communicate how member dues equate to member benefits.

Incentivize the next level

Attract as many donors as possible by offering multiple levels of membership. Numerous tiers, where the benefits increase with the level of investment, give donors flexibility and opportunity to participate. Reward smaller tiered affiliates with bumper stickers, T-shirts or sports packs. For higher tiers, a donor plaque or award may be more appropriate.

Stay in touch

Thank those who were members of your organization, but have let their membership lapse. You may want to extend a “special offer” membership or “welcome back” gift if they renew. Regardless, you’ll leave a lasting impression and hopefully gain a second opportunity to keep the member engaged.

Remember, people belong to your organization because they feel passionate about it—don’t let that passion lapse. Try one or more of these tips and keep your members coming back for more.


“Quick Facts About Nonprofits.” National Center for Charitable Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 23 Mar. 2015.

Daucus, Sasha. “How can memberships benefit my nonprofit organization?” FundRaiser Basic. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 24 Mar. 2015.

Robinson, Ellis. “Eight Strategic Mistakes with Memberships.” Blue Avocado. N.p., 21 Mar. 2010. Web. Retrieved 24 Mar. 2015.

“Nonprofit memberships: best practices with donor management software.” FundRaiser Basic. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 24 Mar. 2015.

Gifford, Gayle. “How one nonprofit loved their lapsed members back.” Cause and Effect. N.p., 24 July 2013. Web. Retrieved 24 Mar. 2015.