Career Story: Membership Coordinator For A Science Museum

Membership Coordinator For A Science Museum

Job Title: Membership Coordinator

Type of Company: I work for a not-for-profit foundation that raises money to support the operations of a state-owned natural science museum. We raise money primarily through annual capital campaigns, and membership in the museum. We also apply for and administer grant money to the museum.

Education: BS, Marketing, Syracuse University

Previous Experience: I have held several in-house marketing/advertising communications coordinator jobs, and most recently worked as a part-time assistant to the director of the museum where I am now the membership coordinator.

Job Tasks: Every day I enter new member information into our database. This includes biographical information such as name, address and phone number so we will have the information necessary to send supporters future solicitations for donations and membership renewals. The "gifts" (donation amounts) are also recorded in their record and the checks, cash and credit card payments are all handled by different people and are retrieved from the mail, the museum box office, or processed through a credit card billing service. These new or renewed memberships are run through a database every week that allows us to generate tax letters and thank you's with their membership cards attached for their specific level of membership. I also update the membership section of our website to reflect any changes in membership level and benefits or to reflect any special events being offered to members. Each month I use our database to create renewal letters for members whose memberships are about to expire or repeat letters to those whose memberships have already expired. The letters are changed periodically to keep up with special exhibits, and special offers being made to past members. Sometimes if a member renews by a certain date they will get a voucher for a premium (free gift) redeemable in the museum store. I do all the printing, folding and stuffing of mailings in the membership office. I also track our renewal rates and provide reports to our executive (board) committee monthly. Several times a year our staff mans a membership table during the museum's special events in an effort to generate new memberships. Annually I draft a budget of income and expenses anticipated for the coming year, for review by our director.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Sometimes the best part of my job, the consistency or predictability of tasks, becomes the worst part. During busy times you may get so many new memberships that you feel like you don't do anything but enter data. But on the other hand the frequency of sending out renewal notices is somewhat flexible and they can be varied to fit your schedule.

Job Tips:
1.) Be organized and plan ahead. It can be a very flexible job with a little planning.

2.) Become familiar with all aspects of your database and experiment with different ways of doing things that you may find better than the way your predecessor did them.

3.) Explore new plans for developing your membership base, and consider talking to peers in other areas of membership. If possible, read, attend seminars etc. to learn from others about membership-building.

Additional Thoughts: To be successful in this job you have to be organized and willing to adapt. You may find that approaches that were successful in the past are no longer working so you have to be willing to try new ones. You also deal with the public so you must be customer service-oriented. Attention to detail is important as you are dealing with money.

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