Case Study: Revolutionizing a Membership Program

The Need: An organization needed to create a sustainable funding base to support its programs. The board’s development committee identified an urgent need to expand revenue from memberships, which were providing less than 3% of the organization’s revenue. The board set a goal of tripling its annual membership revenue over three years.

The Solution: Working closely with the development committee and staff, Elizabeth created and implemented a strategy to transform the organization’s membership program and meet its ambitious revenue goals. Key steps included: completely redesigning the membership database to enable tailored communications with members and supporters; changing the internal membership policy to encourage more people to join; and transforming the organization’s membership communications and direct mail strategies in order to attract more financial support. In its first year alone, the new membership program more than doubled the number of dues-paying members and tripled membership revenue. By the end of the third year, membership revenue had increased five-fold over original levels and constituted nearly 15% of the organization’s annual revenue.

Case Study: Creating a Sustainable Fundraising Program

The Need: An organization wanted to increase and diversify its funding sources, as well as craft a plan to ensure future financial sustainability. In particular, the organization wanted to raise more money from individuals, develop a major donor program, leverage member communications and direct mail more effectively, and expand its revenue sources to include more fee-based and corporate support.

The Solution: Elizabeth worked with board and staff to set goals for diversifying the organization’s funding base and to identify incremental steps to achieve this diversification. She also helped the organization craft a suite of programs and campaigns that better described the organization’s work and made the organization’s mission and activities more appealing to its members and supporters. She then worked with volunteers and staff to implement the fundraising plan, including:

  • restructuring the membership program;
  • designing and implementing an individual-giving program;
  • establishing a planned-giving program, including attractive brochures for distribution;
  • increasing and diversifying foundation support to include a strong balance of funds from government, corporate and private sources;
  • building the organization’s relationships with local corporations; and
  • increasing offerings of fee-based programs related to the mission.

This work helped the organization significantly expand its program offerings for members and roughly double both its staff and its annual budget.