Why Inclusive Membership Development Practices Matter

If your organization operates on a membership basis, then the demographic changes described above apply directly to your membership development efforts. Membership-based organizations fall into two main categories: those who invite anyone to become a member and those who seek members from a particular profession, group, or segment of the community.

If your organization has an open membership, then the broad demographic changes in the population apply to your potential membership base.

If your organization seeks members from a particular profession or group, then the demographic changes may be taking place in different ways, depending upon the group you target.

Membership organizations find that if they don't address demographic shifts, they see eroding membership numbers and decreasing influence in communities that are more diverse than ever.

For example, one of the nation's largest and most well-known membership associations is the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). The organization is struggling to maintain its relevance in the changing face of the country, as its membership remains 90 percent white and mostly female. "We have a huge amount of work to do if we want to remain a viable organization," said Carla Niño, president of the California PTA and the group's first Latina state chief. "We need to redefine the face of the PTA to look like our communities."(See Bibliography: Rubin)


Overview: Fundraising and Membership Why Inclusive Fundraising Practices Matter Fundraising Strategies to Reach Communities of Color Membership Development Strategies to Reach Communities of Color