Join us to explore the future of membership

NCVO and the RSA are bringing together a consortium of leading charities from across civil society to shape a new vision for the role and practice of membership in the future.

Involving people in supporting and creating social change is a central tool for charities in the 21st century. Given the scale and nature of the social challenges facing charity leaders today, such as global security, climate change and creating equitable and sustainable food systems, we need to be able to make the most of people’s desire to come together to change the world. And in a difficult funding context, the financial and volunteering support that members bring becomes increasingly important.

Membership is changing as I previously explored in this think-piece.  There have been fluctuating levels of participation with a steep decline in the involvement of trade unions and political parties but major growth in charities such as RSPB and National Trust. We have witnessed new ways of bringing people together, often through web 2.0 technology-aided single-issue causes such as Make Poverty History, and other forms of participation within the commercial sector such as ethical consumerism.

NCVO and the RSA believe that membership is a pressing concern for many charities and that by understanding the changes that are occurring and what is driving them, we can prepare better to meet the challenges of engaging members now and in the future. We propose to establish a group of around 20 leading charities active in this field to help identify the main drivers of change and the ways in which organisations can respond to them. By working together we can address collectively these strategic issues on a larger scale than would otherwise be possible, share our expertise and lead debate across civil society about how we can rise to the challenges ahead of us.

Consortium members are each asked to contribute £5,000 plus VAT towards the cost of the project. As project partners they will contribute to the research and be involved in all aspects of the project, including:

  • Being invited to join the project Think Thank.
  • Receiving an invitation for their CEO to attend two discussion dinners hosted by NCVO and RSA
  • Receiving a copy of the final report (in Powerpoint)
  • Having access to NCVO/RSA research team to present findings to group of its choosing (e.g. its own members (if a infrastructure organisation), Trustee awayday, Senior Management Meeting, staff planning day etc)
  • Receiving an invitation to send up to 3 people to a scenario planning workshop.
  • Being invited to attend the project launch at the RSA.
  • Sharing the IPR of the research and being able to share it with their members (if appropriate).
  • Being publicly acknowledged as contributing to the project

If you are interested in reading the full project proposal or discussing the project, please email us.

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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