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Membership Peer Community

Member recruitment and retention are vital to the success of a philanthropy-serving organizations. Here, you will find sample documents, tips, and tools designed to help your regional association acquire, engage, and renew grantmaker members. 

If you have resources to share, please share them online or by emailing Courtney Moore.

Membership Peer Community

The Membership Peer Community is for those who support membership recruitment and retention efforts at their PSO, manage member benefits, onboard new member organizations and staff/trustees, and manage their organization’s membership database.

  • Membership Listserv ( You must be a member of the Forum & this Peer Community to post to this list.
  • Three round-robin calls per year
  •  Forum’s Annual Conference virtual session

Interested in joining this Peer Community? Submit your email address on the form at the bottom of the Our Networks page

Forum Staff Lead: Courtney Moore, (202-888-7428),


Clare Larson, PEAK Grantmaking

Clare joins PEAK Grantmaking after spending over three years at Humentum, a global association supporting organizations in the international relief and development sector. She began there managing the enrollment in Humentum’s training programs and conferences. She transitioned to the role of membership engagement manager, where she was responsible for fostering collaboration across the membership community through learning and networking events. She is passionate about ensuring a seamless customer experience and connecting people with practical tools and resources.

Clare graduated from Fordham University with a degree in International Political Economy and Middle East Studies. She grew up in New Jersey, but has family roots in the Midwest. Outside of work, she can be found spending as much time outside as possible planning her next travel adventure and singing along to ABBA songs.

Phuong Quach, Northern California Grantmakers

Phuong believes in the power of community and networks, which has also shaped her career path.  She was the Membership Director at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and a co-founder of AAPIP’s Hella Heart Oakland Giving Circle.  At NCG, she oversees membership, programmatic and collaborative work, and helps to shape and strengthen NCG's strategic focus on addressing inequities, supporting the vibrancy and sustainability of our region, and tending to the dynamic and diverse people in our philanthropic community.

She is a first-generation college graduate that benefited from Head Start and Affirmative Action programs and policies.  She received a double major in Urban Studies and Anthropology from Macalester College and a Master in Public Administration from CUNY as a National Urban Fellow. 

As an extrovert, she is always curious to meet and connect with people. Interesting random facts:  She was born in Vietnam and raised in Minnesota. She has run 5 full marathons. Despite her lack of talent, she sings karaoke regularly.



As membership organizations, philanthropy-serving organizations are interested in recruiting new members and are always looking for new effective ways to do so. There are a wide range of tools to use and develop to improve recruitment efforts. The best recruitment strategies combine multiple tools including websites and emails, invitation letters, and values of membership documents

Membership Applications
A collection of membership application templates.

Member Recruitment Calls or Visits
Many organizations work with their staff and/or membership committee to schedule calls or in-person visits with prospecitve members to find out more about the potenial member, explain the value of membership, review the benefits of membership, discuss any past or current engagement opportunities, etc. 

Working with Membership Committees
To get a better sense of how other organizations use their membership committees, CNJG selected a few similiar-sized regional philanthropy-serving organizations to interview. A recap of those conversations is now avialable. 

Non-member Surveys
Non-member surveys can help your organization gather important information about underserved audiences and pique interest in your organization.

Communicating the Value of Membership
Many PSOs create value of membership documents to help showcase what organizations will get out of becoming a member. The techniques and tactics vary across the network.

Member Recruitment Letters
A collection of sample member recruitment letters.

Member Recruitment Plans
A collection of member recruitment plans.

Member Benefits Lists
A collection of member benefits.

Membership Criteria
Each PSO sets its own membership criteria. See what types of organizations are eligible for membership at other regional associations across the country.

Membership Development Plan
Sample development plan for membership recruitment and retention compiled from examples from across the Network. Items highlighted in yellow were added based on suggestions made during a 2013 conference session.

Links to Membership Information, Eligibility, and Applications
A compilation of links to membership information, member eligibility, and membership applications on each regional philanthropy association's website.

Foundation Type Descriptions
Definitions of some of the common foundation types eligible for membership.


Once new members have been recruited, they now have to be welcomed into the regional network. This is a time to introduce them to your organization and remind them of the benefits they will now receive as a member. All new members should receive a welcome letter and some regional associations will also send a welcome packet, set up a "New Member Orientation" meeting, conduct a new member survey, or pair up old and new members at events.

Welcome Letter to New Members
A collection of sample welcome letters sent by regional associations to new members.

New Member Cultivation Steps
Check out the steps Delaware Valley Grantmakers takes to cultivate new members.

Sample Membership Orientation Webinar
Recording of a orientation webinar for members of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy to to get acquainted or reacquainted with all that's avaialble to members. The presentation includes a guided tour of the organization's website.




Just as important as recruiting new members is keeping the members you already have. Renewal time provides a great opportunity to reintroduce your philanthropy-serving organization to your members by reviewing member benefits and accomplishments of the past year. Many PSOs also send out a thank you letter to all who decide to renew their membership. For those organizations who decide not to renew their membership, an exit survey may prove beneficial to gain a better understanding of why and what improvements you as a PSO can make.

Renewal Invoices Applications
Sample membership renewal applications, forms, and invoices from philanthropy-serving organizations.

Membership Development Plan
Sample development plan for membership recruitment and retention at regional associations compiled from examples from across the Network. Items highlighted in yellow were added based on suggestions made during a 2013 conference session.

Communicating How to Be Engaged
Sample communications from philanthropy-serving organizations with members about how they can better engage with the organization and get the most out of their membership.

Membership Surveys
Membership surveys can help determine your members' perception of your organization, generate programming ideas, and yield a clearer picture of who you are serving. These sample surveys have been developed and implemented across the network.

Exit Surveys
A collection of exit surveys conducted by regional associations when a member fails to renew their membership.

Member Check-In/Thank You Calls
Many organizations work with their staff and/or membership committee to schedule calls or in-person visits with current members to thank them for their membership, review the benefits of membership, discuss past and current engagement opportunities, get feedback, etc. 

Member Engagement Tracking & Reporting
Many philanthropy-serving organizations are tracking and reporting how they are engaging with their members over time. Some have built internal profiles for members while others have created engagement scores. 

Membership Dues

Membership dues are an important factor in a membership organization's budget. Look through sample dues structures and procedures for changing dues structures.
A google doc compilation from different philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) on how they handle membership for philanthropy advisors/consultants or other affiliate memberships including eligibility criteria and dues information.
A collection of sample letters developed by regional associations to announce a dues increase.
Resources developed by Philanthropy New York to effectively communicate with their members around a proposed dues increase.
A spreadsheet compiling data on dues increases from ten regional associations.