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Book Review: Membership Development: An Action Plan for Results

Resource Center - Foundation

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Membership Development: An Action Plan for Results, by Patricia Rich and Dana Hines; Aspen Publishers, Inc. 2002; 303 pages, including appendices; softcover.
ISBN # 0-8342-1971-9

New book is loaded with great new ideas and hands-on tools

This book is written as a resource for those who work with membership programs, who supervise them, or are who are considering starting one. The philosophy behind the book is that thoughtful planning is the first step in implementing a program that will meet the needs of the institution, the community, and the members. With an effective plan, activities are cohesive, resources are well-used, and goals are met.

The book has information that will be helpful to all membership programs, no matter their type. That said, however, there is more information in the book for programs that are the basis for fundraising for the institution, since as the authors note, the membership program should be an integrated part of the development effort.

This comprehensive guide offers a thorough examination of the "best practices" in the membership development arena:

  • Historical information on what membership development is, and its role in a nonprofit organization; Extensive list of types of nonprofit organizations, and respective membership programs;
  • How, what, and why guidance to plan and develop a membership program that truly fits the nonprofit organization;
  • Experience-based recommendations and suggestions for improvement of numerous existing practices in membership development;
  • Effective and cost efficient ways to develop a donor base and constituency for a nonprofit organization;
  • Specific components and strategies for developing implementing, and analyzing a membership marketing program the meets the goals of the nonprofit organization;
  • Examples and illustrations help to break down the very complex membership development financial planning process in easy-to-understand terms;
  • Plus planning worksheets, report worksheets, case studies, software options, extensive glossary and benchmarks, and much more.

Everyone involved in a membership program will find in this book new ideas and other relevant information. The book gives the new membership staffer a thorough background in how a membership program fits within the larger organization, and the seasoned professional new ideas and ways of looking at things. And it gives the organization considering a membership program the information it needs to plan and develop one that is appropriate for the institution.

About the authors

Patricia Rich, ACFRE, is a principal in EMD Consulting Group, LLC, St. Louis, Missouri. Past positions include CEO of the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis, CEO of City Museum, and Director of Planning and Development for Missouri Botanical Garden. As a consultant she has worked with numerous organization s throughout the country on membership, fundraising, planning and management issues.

Dana Hines is president and CEO of Membership Consultants, St. Louis, MO. Her numerous clients include the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the International Bicycling Association in Boulder, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

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