3 min read

The 7 principles of memberful design

Build a meaningful relationship with your community

3 min read

Are you curious how you can leverage the power of design to grow your community or spark a movement? Memberful design can help. It’s a school of thought based on a series of practical, actionable principles that can help your organization identify, connect with, and build a community of active members — those who believe in your mission and want to help you achieve it.

Based on two decades of building meaningful member-driven brands and platforms, and multi-year research collaboration with New York University, we’ve captured the best practices of successful member-driven initiatives in seven key principles.

Any organization can apply these principles to build a more meaningful relationship with your community. You don’t need to have a membership program or subscription service to reap the benefits. If you truly involve your public and empower them to contribute to a shared purpose, any organization can build better products, a healthier business, and a more satisfied community.

Dive into the seven principles of memberful design and explore how you can leverage them to achieve lasting impact:

1. Make sure members understand your mission

In order to build strong connections and lasting relationships, it needs to be clear what your group is trying to accomplish. This can be deceptively tricky. You may know what your purpose is, but is it clearly communicated with the outside world? Can your audience recognize and connect with your cause? If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track. The first step towards turning customers into members is to share a common purpose that you want to work towards together.

2. Give members benefits they actually want

Memberful initiatives clearly communicate what people receive in return for their “gift,” whether that gift is their money, time, or knowledge. If I give money, what do I get access to, and how often? If I share knowledge, where does this live, who has access to it, and how can it be shared? If I spend time connecting with the community, who will I meet, what network will I build? By increasing transparency, you can build trust.

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3. Show people at the center of your organization

Give initiative a human face. Can members clearly see the people behind the project? Are they able to engage with others in their member community? People connect with people — so make sure yours are visible.

4. Create a calm, cohesive experience

Memberful initiatives are welcoming, transparent, and holistic. From online platforms to live events and everything in between, your members can focus on your shared purpose without distraction.

5. Give members a seat at the table

The relationship with your members should never be top-down. Members’ input should be valued and there are clear pathways for them to contribute to and participate in your work. This collective knowledge sharing is a key reason to join the community. How can you invite members to share their valuable knowledge? What platforms would help them to contribute easily and effectively?

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6. Empower members to become ambassadors

Every new member you have should be viewed as a possible ambassador. Members are supported to share your mission within their own communities, telling your story and acting as ambassadors for your work in the wider world. How can you empower your members to advocate for your cause?

7. Members gain useful insights in story form

Stories are the natural way to process information and emotions in full color, allowing your community to connect with a message more deeply. Do the stories you tell your members contain helpful, practical, and actionable insights? Will they help your members make informed decisions?

Excited to get started, but unsure where to begin? Create an action plan for your organization during a one-day memberful workshop. Reach out to Alex, growth director at Momkai, to discuss how this could help make your business more effective.

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