Memberships & Associations
October 31, 2023

The Ultimate Blueprint for Membership Rewards Programmes

Membership rewards programme


Welcome to our blog, where we explore membership reward programmes. Discover how membership organisations and associations use rewards and engagement strategies to build lasting connections with their members to increase retention rates and LTV.





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Are Reward Programmes Worth the Effort?

Imagine you're standing at the checkout counter of your favourite store, and the cashier asks if you want to join their loyalty programme. You hesitate for a moment, considering if it's worth the extra effort. You're probably asking yourself, "Are they just another way to clog my inbox with promotional emails, or do these programmes really offer any significant value?"

The short answer is yes; they do. Done right.

A membership rewards programme adds a unique element to the traditional membership experience and enhances the member value proposition. They help you engage your members and connect with them in more meaningful ways.

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Understanding Membership Reward Programmes


What is a Membership Reward Programme?

Membership associations play a vital role in the growth and progress of their respective industries.

They’re often responsible for providing a rewarding experience for members and create a strong sense of community. Many of these organisations include membership rewards programmes as part of their value proposition.

These programmes reward loyal members for active participation and engagement within the association. They add something extra to the membership experience. The perks and privileges provide deliver value to both members and the association itself.


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What are the Benefits of Membership Rewards Programmes?

When properly implemented, membership rewards programmes deliver several compelling benefits. They go beyond superficial rewards to provide a sustainable system for increasing member loyalty, engagement, and retention.

Here is a summary of some key benefits:

  • Member Retention: A personalised programme will incentivise members to stay engaged and renew their memberships. For other ideas on on how increase membership retention, please visit: 10 Ways to Boost Membership Retention

  • Increased Engagement: Rewards encourage members to actively participate in the organisation's activities and events.

  • Member Attraction: Attractive rewards can entice potential new members and boost membership growth.

  • Data Collection: Provide data on member preferences and behaviours, allowing for more personalised offerings.

  • Community Building: Rewards encourage interaction and collaboration among members.

  • Feedback and Improvement: Incentives can prompt members to provide feedback, leading to continuous improvement.

  • Sustainable Growth: Reward programmes support the long-term sustainability and growth of the organisation.

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Examples of Membership Rewards Programmes

English Heritage

This organisation, which manages historical sites and monuments, offers a tiered membership rewards programme. Members can choose from four membership tiers (family, joint, individual, and lifetime) and enjoy discounted access to guided tours at historic sites, among other amazing rewards.


ISM (Independent Society of Musicians)

The ISM Discount+ programme offers ISM members exciting savings on music-related products and services. This includes concert tickets and access to online resources for music research. Members also get discounts from ISM partners in travel, lifestyle, insurance, and shopping.

ISM Reward Programme 2



England Golf

Reward programme benefits for England Golf members include discounted green fees at prestigious golf courses. This allows members to enjoy a top-tier golfing experience at affordable prices. Members can also enjoy discounts on group bookings for golf trips across the globe.


Camping and Caravanning Club

Members of the camping and caravanning club get access to fantastic discounts and offers that enhance their outdoor experiences. Membership also comes with exclusive discounts on family deals and member-only camping offers.


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How to Design an Effective Membership Rewards Programme

Set Clear Goals

  • Define your objectives: What do you hope to achieve with your membership rewards programme? Do you want to increase member retention, boost engagement, or attract new members? List out the KPIs that show that you’re making progress towards reaching your goals.

  • Set measureable goals: Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and time-bound. For example, you could set a goal to boost member retention by 15% in the next year. 

Know Your Audience

  • Collect feedback: Use member surveys to identify the rewards and benefits that members expect from your association. Use the data you collect to design a programme that meets their needs. 

  • Segmentation: Divide your members into groups according to their engagement levels and preferences. Different member groups may benefit more from specific reward structures. 

Choose Appropriate Rewards

  • Offer diverse options: Provide a wide range of rewards to cater to members with diverse needs and interests. Offer rewards like discounts, exclusive content and event access, and personalised member experiences.

  • Provide tiered rewards: Create a tiered reward structure where members can earn rewards of higher value as they move to higher tiers. 

For more inspiration on what types of rewards to offer your members, please visit: 8 Membership Incentive Ideas: Drive Engagement & Retention

Clear and Achievable Milestones

  • Provide earning opportunities: Make sure members have clear and achievable ways to earn rewards. It could be by making purchases, participating in events, or making referrals. Whatever you choose, ensure that it is transparent.

  • Enable progress tracking: Your members should always be able to track their progress towards rewards. This motivates them to engage more with your offers and activities as they strive to reach reward milestones. 


Budget Considerations

  • Carefully allocate resources: Create a detailed budget plan for your membership rewards programme. Allocate the necessary resources to offer attractive rewards to your members without breaking the bank. 

  • Conduct a cost vs. benefit analysis: Analyse your programme regularly by comparing the costs of launching and managing it with its benefits. The ROI (return on investment) should always justify the programme costs. 

Promotion and Communication

  • Provide clear communication: Always provide clear information about the rewards programme to your members. Use their preferred channels (email, social media, or your website) to share information on how to join, earn rewards, and enjoy the benefits. 

  • Offer regular updates: Share important programme updates to keep members informed about new changes. 

Member Feedback and Adaptation

  • Establish feedback loops: Create an ongoing feedback loop to collect programme insights from members. This will help you adjust your programme to meet their changing needs and preferences. 

  • Embrace flexibility: Be open to adjusting your programme structure and rewards based on the feedback you collect. Embracing flexibility keeps your programme relevant to its members. 

Monitor and Analyse Data

  • Data tracking: Use a loyalty solution that offers a robust data tracking system. You should be able to track metrics like member engagement and reward redemptions. 

  • Analyse programme performance: Regularly analyse tracking data to measure programme effectiveness. Monitor KPIs to assess your progress towards your programme goals. 


Legal and Compliance Considerations

  • Always comply with relevant laws when setting up and managing your rewards programme. This includes data privacy and consumer protection laws. 


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How Can You Encourage and Reward Member Engagement?

Encouraging and rewarding members for their engagement is a crucial part of successful membership rewards programmes. You must recognise that not all members will engage with your programme in the same way. That’s why it’s so important to employ innovative strategies to attract their interest.


Gamification is one such strategy that can drive member engagement. Adding gamified elements to your membership rewards programme can greatly improve its outcomes. 



Here’s how you can gamify your membership rewards programme:

Gamification Elements

  • Leaderboards: Create a leaderboard where members can earn points as they engage with your activities and events. Reward top performers with special perks, and make the leaderboards visible on the community platform or on your website. 

  • Challenges and missions: Design missions and challenges for members to compete in. They can earn leaderboard points or special badges for completing these challenges. This gives them a sense of achievement and keeps them engaged. 

  • Badges and achievements: Give members digital badges and achievements for their participation within your association. Allow members to add these badges and achievements to their profiles or share them on social media. 


Reward Structure

  • Unlockable rewards: Create special reward categories that members can only unlock by completing a specific action. For example, you can ask them to share their insights from a recent event on social media to unlock these special rewards. 

  • Virtual currency: Design a virtual currency that members can spend within the programme to purchase event tickets, merchandise, or donate to charity. 

  • Prize giveaways: Leverage the element of surprise to keep members engaged. Give out random rewards to members at times when they never expect to receive them. 

Engagement Challenges

  • Quests: Develop an industry-themed quest that tests members’ knowledge and rewards top performers with exclusive rewards. You can do this on an ongoing basis, like after each event or webinar. 

  • Trivia contests: Host trivia contests on association-related topics. Members earn points for providing correct answers, encouraging learning and engagement. You can do this as part of the Q&A session at your events.

Feedback and Customisation

  • Member input: Consider member input when designing the challenges and rewards in your gamification system. Collect feedback to understand their likes and dislikes.

  • Personalisation: Allow members customise their avatars, profiles, and even badges to personalise their membership experience. This adds a personal touch that enhances their sense of ownership. 


Regular Updates and Seasonal Events

  • Seasonal events: Introduce gamified challenges during peak engagement times. This could be during annual conferences or a month dedicated to a specific cause. This adds excitement to your activities and boosts engagement. 

  • Updates: Regularly add new challenges and rewards to keep the gamification system as engaging as possible. 


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Key Programme Metrics to Track

Tracking key metrics helps you determine the ROI of your programme and shows the impact on member engagement and loyalty.

Here are some KPIs to keep an eye on:

Member Retention Rate

This is the percentage of members who renew their membership after joining your rewards programme. 

Participation Levels

This is the number of members that engage with the rewards programme. Tracking participation helps you identify the active segments of your membership base. 

Redemption Rates

This is the number of members who redeem the rewards that you provide. If this rate is low, then you might need to rethink the type of rewards you’re offering. 


Cost per Member

Calculating the cost per member gives you a closer look at your ROI and programme efficiency. 

Lifetime Value of Members

Assess any increase in the lifetime value of members who actively participate in your rewards programme. Note any differences in event attendance, spending, or other valuable actions. 


Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This measures how satisfied members are with your rewards programme. A high NPS score means members get value from the programme and will likely recommend it to others. 

Conversion Rates

This is the number of programme participants who become paying members or generate revenue for your association. This is particularly important for associations that use a paid membership model. 

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Key Takeaways

What are the Benefits of Membership Rewards Programmes?

  • Enhanced Member Loyalty
  • Increased Engagement
  • Member Retention
  • Data Collection and Personalisation
  • Positive Public Image

How to Design an Effective Membership Rewards Programme

  • Set Clear Goals
  • Know Your Audience
  • Choose Appropriate Rewards
  • Clear and Achievable Milestones
  • Budget Considerations
  • Promotion and Communication
  • Member Feedback and Adaptation
  • Monitor and Analyse Data
  • Legal and Compliance Considerations

How Can You Encourage and Reward Member Engagement?

  • Gamification
    • Create a Reward Structure
    • Introduce Engagement Challenges
    • Leverage Feedback and Customisation
    • Offer Regular Updates and Seasonal Events

Key Programme Metrics to Track

  • Member Retention Rate
  • Participation Levels
  • Redemption Rates
  • Cost per Member
  • Lifetime Value of Members
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Conversion Rates


Start Building Your Programme Today!

Membership reward programmes are a dynamic way for membership organisations to build strong relationships with members, boost engagement, and reach their goals. 


Want to learn more?


Download our Memberships & Associations Loyalty Programme Guide today and learn how to deliver exceptional value to both members and your organisation, contributing to long-term success and growth.


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