There are all kinds of memberships out there – individual, organizational, freemium, and ah yes, virtual. But how do you know what models are right for your association? You may be offering individual and organizational memberships, but should you be offering virtual memberships as well?

It’s definitely something to ponder, but before you make a final decision, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do you have the resources and infrastructure needed to support a virtual membership?

Virtual memberships will likely entail a lot of webinars, online training, fresh content, etc. Does your association have the staff and technology needed to provide those services? If not, is the cost of getting (and sustaining) those resources worth offering a discounted, virtual membership? You definitely don’t want to spend more than you bring in.

2. Can you differentiate the benefits of a virtual membership versus a regular membership?

Your regular membership – whether individual, organizational, or both – should be your primary focus. It’s fine to roll out a virtual option, but make sure there’s a clear difference between that and your regular membership. The last thing you want is to devalue your existing members by rolling out an online option.

3. Down the road, can you encourage your virtual members to become regular, higher-level members?

Ideally, you want everyone to be a “regular” member. Virtual memberships exist, though, for those who don’t want or need all of your regular member benefits (e.g. all of those in-person perks).

That said, once someone commits to being a virtual member, can you later encourage them to upgrade their membership? Before rolling out a virtual option, this is something you’ll want to consider.  

Offering different membership types is all about recruiting more people. The more options you provide, the more people you’re likely to recruit.

That said, if you’re not ready to roll out a virtual option or it’s not a good fit for your association, that’s totally fine. You can still recruit people with your existing membership types. Not sure how? Check out our free guide, Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition, below!