Members Only!

Margo Anderson- 07.02.2009

No, not the super-stylish jackets from the 80s, I’m talking about membership in a nonprofit organization! In my job, I work with Arts & Cultural organizations to ensure they are fulfilling their online goals and functionality needs. These conversations often center on what attracts new members and brings old members back to their websites. Through these conversations and having studied several museum, zoo, and aquarium sites, I began to realize that the same offline membership incentives need to take place online too.


Offline - Members Entrance

Online – Member’s Entrance




Members want to feel a sense of community, whether it is entering the museum through a separate line or being able to enter the museum’s website through a member’s login. A “Members Only” area of your website is a great way to build an online sense of community and to provide additional benefits to your members. If you do have the technology in place to create an online community, make sure you are calling out those features and benefits of registering for the community.


 Vancouver Art Gallery does a wonderful job of encouraging their members to signup:



A few other ways to bring offline activities online are to:

  1. Allow members to check their membership status online.
  2. Create online discussions to allow members to communicate with other like-minded members.
  3. Welcome your members by name.
  4. Offer online discounts or coupons to members.
  5. Provide sneak previews of upcoming exhibits for members through Podcasts or videos.


Once your website has the proper tools to provide membership interaction, it can become a thriving member’s community that will establish your organization as an important resource for information and collaboration, drawing new members and growing membership renewals.  


What other ways are you seeing arts and cultural organizations using their websites to grow their memberships? Join the discussion by leaving a comment.

Recent Posts

Nonprofit Tech Featured Blog