Membership is a tool that any organisation can use to assist them to achieve their objectives. It isn’t a tool simply for non-profit organisations and can be found in many for-profit organisations in the form of products such as loyalty programs.
It is not necessary for all not-for-profit associations to have members. In some cases, such as professional bodies or unions, the necessity for members is obvious. However where having members is not a requirement for your association to exist, you should carefully evaluate whether a membership structure is the most appropriate tool to help you achieve your objectives.
For example, the recruitment of members is not the primary objective of an environmental group. However creating a membership structure is useful because the group has then identified a pool of people predisposed to its cause who can be targeted for financial or physical support.
Membership is not an easy way to generate income. Even if your membership base is growing the service based nature of membership organisations means that additional resources will be required to maintain existing levels of service.
Ongoing service requirements mean that members can be very resource-hungry with economies of scale difficult to realise unless you invest significantly in technology. However those associations who structure themselves correctly can generate a large amount of income.Comment on this resource