Membership 101

This entry-level program helps newsrooms develop membership programs tailored to their mission, audience and resources. This course is intended for news publishers that have no membership program but are considering applying staff and/or financial resources to building one. 

Participants will leave this five-week program with the following outcomes: 

  • Deciding whether to initiate a membership program
  • Which type of membership program is right for them
  • How to frame a program in a way that resonates with their audience
  • What is required of their organization to sustain such a program. 

Led by The Texas Tribune’s RevLab, in coordination with The Membership Puzzle Project, the course will meet weekly for one-hour sessions between October 27 and December 11.

Join us on October 15 for a discussion with peers about successful membership programs, meet the RevLab team and learn about the course. Sign up here.

You can start your application by clicking here or the button below.

The deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 16 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Here’s a course overview:

Session 1: Is membership for me?: Tuesday Oct. 27, 1pm EDT

This session defines news membership models, of which there are many. It then guides participants to assess which model is right for them and decide whether they’re ready to build and support one. 

Session 2: Why would someone become a member of your organization?: Friday Nov. 6, 1pm EST

In this session, participants learn how to identify their organization’s value proposition for membership. Using examples from real newsrooms, we’ll establish how to make the business case for membership, including how to assess the costs of membership and the revenue you can expect from your program. 

Session 3: Understanding your audience and measuring your program: Friday Nov. 20, 1pm EST

In this session, we’ll detail how to conduct audience research and collect insights needed to make a compelling case for membership. We’ll also dig into membership metrics that can help you manage your program once it’s up and running. 

Session 4: Designing and staffing your membership program: Friday December 4, 1pm EST 

Once you’ve researched your audience and articulated why someone would become a member, it’s time to design and staff your program. In this session, we delve into how to build a membership program and what resources — skills, roles and ongoing routines — you need to support your membership strategy.

Session 5: Integrating membership into your organization: Friday December 11, 1pm EST

Successful membership programs aren’t sequestered on the margins of a news business; they’re fully ingrained in it. In this session, we show how to develop memberful routines that take audience participation from one-off projects to routines. We also highlight how publishers integrate membership into their newsrooms and company cultures.