Charity membership is high, but what about member engagement?

DateApril 2023

Towards the beginning of the year, nfpResearch, a prominent market research agency in the not-for-profit sector, released a report entitled Membership & the Charity Sector, a comprehensive report based on 25 of the UK’s largest charity membership schemes.

The headline statistic, in our view, was that around a fifth of UK adults are members – a staggering number by any standard.

Being a part of something

Perhaps the second most striking statistic (aside from the fact that men are more likely than women to be a member of cultural and heritage charities, whilst women are more likely to join campaigning charities) was that 40 per cent of members of special interest charities enjoyed feeling part of an organisation. A total of 34 per cent of members of cultural and heritage-focused charities also stated this was important.

Silverbear offers a platform for membership-based charities, that enables them to communicate directly with members in a way that makes them feel like they’re part of something.

Essentially, our platform-based CRM built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, facilitates member engagement in its purest form.

High membership doesn’t always equate to engaged membership

Large membership figures are undoubtedly good, but from our perspective, it’s membership engagement that provides the basis for continued growth.

Whilst the report doesn’t touch on engagement, we know from our experience of working with some of the UK’s most well-known (and much loved) membership-based charities that whenever there’s an absence of member engagement, the issue of membership retention tends to fill its place.

After all, if, as a member, you begin to question the value you’re getting, it won’t be long before you’re questioning your entire membership.

So, what can membership-based charities do to retain their membership? And, just as important, what can they do to grow their membership? In our view, the first step is to invest in a membership management system – or, at the very least, specialist member CRM for charities.

Digital transformation for charities

If you’ve already made the leap to membership management software for charities, then you’ll no doubt think it’s the best thing your organisation has done. If you haven’t, then it’s likely that one - or all - of these scenarios apply to you:

  1. I know I need to buy a specialist member CRM for charities, but I don’t know where to start
  2. I’ve looked into non-profit membership software, but I feel overwhelmed by the practicalities of it all
  3. I’m ready to embark on a programme of digital transformation, but how do I go about getting the backing of my organisation and my colleagues?

Silverbear has helped many membership-based charities in the UK with their digital transition and provided a wide range of not-for-profit organisations with the tools required to increase and maintain engagement levels amongst their members. In fact, if you’re reading this then you might be interested in reading our Project Sponsor’s Guide to Digital Transformation. Either way, we’re well placed to help take your organisation’s membership management to the next level.

As the research shows, members highly value being a part of something. So, let us help you build the framework so that you can leverage this. Engagement is a must for charities, and in 2023, so too is a specialist member CRM for charities.

Are you a membership-based charity looking to increase engagement amongst your membership, boost efficiencies and decrease administration costs? If so, contact our membership management system specialists at 01483 409409 or email

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