2010 Membership, Development, PR & Marketing PAG Spring Workshop.
Cultivating Membership Among Young Professionals - Presentation by Kirsten Alexander, Senior Membership Manager, Historic New England, MA
1. Young Friends of
Historic New England
2. About Us
Founded in 1910, Historic New England is the oldest,
largest, and most comprehensive regional preservation
organization in the country. We own 36 historic
properties in 5 states, ranging from farms to estates to
seventeenth-century homes. They include the Lyman
Estate, Gropius House, Beauport, Roseland Cottage,
and our HQ, the Otis House Museum.
5. Early Process
• Started in 2005
• Early focus on recruiting adult children of high-level
donors, board, etc.
• These folks have stayed loyal, but not always involved
• Growth was stagnant
• Total: 62 Young Friends memberships combined total
in 5 years. 25 in 2009 after significant staff turnover.
6. Young Friends Membership Details – the Past
• Managed by development not membership
• Age bracket “20s – 40s”
• Invitations to a varying number of Young Friends
events per year, including receptions, behind-the-
scenes tours, and family-friendly programs.
• Events to introduce members to the Appleton Circle.
• Small Steering Committee with two co-chairs in their
• Group was perceived by some non-development staff
as a bit snobby
7. Growth over time
• 12 long-term members upgraded early on
• 22 new joins in first year 2005
• 5 joined in second year 2006
• 16 joined in third year 2007
• 1 joined in fourth year 2008
• 5 joined in fifth year 2009
• 1 upgraded into YF in sixth year 2010
• Most came in by word of mouth.
• Take away: Staff energy and continuity are key.
• 12 from first cohort of 34 are still members, including
two co-chairs (35%)
• 1 from second year (20%)
• 6 from third year (37%)
• Some variations with staff turnover
• General membership retention is 75-85%
9. Our need?
• Grow the group in order to justify the
staff time and expense.
• Bring in younger steering committee
members to offset aging out members
10. Environmental Scan Winter 2010
• Reviewed all major young friends-like programs in
Boston, DC, and NYC (intern project)
• Most have age range of 21-39, Facebook pages, are
• Some overlap between our YF members and MFA,
• Came up with new proposal and worked through it
with Steering Committee
11. Figuring out what they want
• Lots and lots of events • Instant pictures, responses,
specific to them online everything
• High-level access to • To be heard
president, board, famous • A new name
speakers, patrons • To be an insider
• Day trips and walking tours • “Value” for their dues
to discover new places
• Preferred walking tour to
• Insider behind-the-scenes holiday party!
access to sites, collections,
and curatorial staff • Never aging out!
12. What do they want to support?
• High-profile donor and member events –
entire Steering Committee came to gala
• Education programs
• Volunteering at other (non-YF) events as
greeters and helpers
• Their own events (as an individual sponsor)
Not membership dues
13. What do we want?
• Fresh blood and diversity of all kinds
• Help us get away from the “Society” perception
• Vibrant volunteers
• Lifelong, multigenerational connection to at least one property
• “Connectors” who will raise awareness and recruit members
• Opportunity to get to know potential major donors
• Committee as training ground for future Appleton Circle,
Council, and Board members
• Easy and relatively low-cost to manage
14. Membership Details – What we Changed
• Young Friends of Historic New England – had to keep the name
• Integrated into regular membership category
• Dramatically lower entry pricepoint of $100
• Explicit age range of 21-50
• 3 tiers: Contributing, Supporting, Patron
• Lowered entry to Appleton Circle by $500 for individuals.
• Capped events to 6. Quarterly steering meetings.
• Many more “bring a friend” options.
• “Dual” membership for singles – bring a date
15. Young Friends Pricing
New Pricing for FY11 Old Pricing (’05-’10)
• Contributing $100 individual • $250 Associate Individual
/ $150 “dual” • $500 Supporting
• Supporting $250 individual (Family/Couple)
/$400 dual • $1500 Patron/Appleton
• Patron $1,000 individual Circle
16. Successful Event Philosophy
• Offer memorable experiences that only you can make happen
– Events at fabulous houses (Beauport, Gropius evening events)
– Collections access (tour of Haverhill collections)
– Winter Antiques Show special access
– Behind the scenes at Fenway Park
– Family events with all the special touches
– Thoughtful inexpensive touches that are part of your brand (candy
made in NE)
– Feeback/input by the committee
• Keep costs low to nothing – most partners have been willing to
help out of goodwill and exposure
• Food budget for one big fun social event
17. What We’re Doing to Grow –
Finding New Members in Our Midst
• Analyzed database – virtually no ages listed, except
for trustees and current Young Friends.
• Purchased “Age Append” service from Raiser’s
Edge/Blackbaud (about $1K for 50,000 names)
• Added age line on new membership forms
• Recruiting from base of younger staff – new price is
• Word of mouth
18. What We’re Doing to Grow – Prospecting
• First-time budget for targeted online advertising
• Will be posting events on our public Facebook page, not just
Young Friends page. Easier to share.
• Capitalizing on our Centennial year
• Supporting and Patron level Young Friends can bring guests to
• Mailing packets to prospects. Personal invitations.
• Inclusion on ALL membership forms for the first time.
• Guide training
19. Who has been especially interested in Historic New
• History and architecture self-described “content
• Families with young children
• Single gay men
• Young people in the
• Geographically dispersed in and around Boston
• Programming developed to appeal to each group
20. Goals for the Year
• 100% growth to 50 memberships in the next year
• Standardized benefits
• Growing the steering committee