Action: Grow the CFPA family to 4,000 diverse supporters
What is it?
Currently, CFPA has approximately 2,000 membership units. Each membership unit may either be an individual or a family, so this represents many more than 2,000 people.
Growing membership is not a sprint, it is a marathon, but the necessary actions to increase it can be grouped into three basic categories:
- Increase recruitment. Growing CFPA’s membership is a person-to-person activity, and the most critical recruiters are CFPA’s current members, volunteers, Board, and staff. Increased public awareness in the media through statewide events like Trails Day is key to expose more people to CFPA, but even with more exposure, many people will not act to join unless they are personally asked, invited, or directly engaged.
- Increase retention. Retaining existing supporters helps ensure that CFPA is able to build upon the past year’s successes rather than having to constantly rebuild from ground zero. The current retention rate for CFPA (~75%) is much higher than the retention rate for other nonprofit organizations (closer to 20%). That being said, there is always room for improvement with engaging our supporters and growing a tighter-knit community both to build loyalty and encourage supporters to continue their generosity.
- Provide exclusive, members-only benefits. CFPA does a lot of work which results in significant benefits for both members and non-members alike. For example, it is free to walk on a Blue-Blazed Hiking Trail whether or not you are a member. Because the benefits are free and many people don’t know the source of the benefits, CFPA’s important work and the considerable resources we dedicate to our mission can be taken for granted. There are opportunities to enhance members-only benefits with special activities, discounts, merchandise, website access, trail map updates, etc. that will help build understanding about both the personal and community value of a CFPA membership.
Why is it important?
If we want to implement “Today’s Land, Tomorrow’s Legacy,” CFPA will need to utilize significant resources from members as well as from volunteers, board, staff, and many community partners. Growing CFPA’s membership widens the circle of friends and supporters who will work with CFPA to achieve this critically-important vision.
What will the impact be?
CFPA’s members provide vital resources that support CFPA’s mission in so many ways. Not only do members provide support through membership contributions and additional gifts to the Annual Fund, but also a growing membership enhances the effectiveness of all of CFPA’s programs by boosting our position in the community, our political influence, our ability to promote ourselves, and much more.
If members are helping to recruit other members and if we increase retention, CFPA can double its membership and sustain operations at the level necessary to sustain “Today’s Land, Tomorrow’s Legacy” – a truly ambitious vision. Over the next years we will experiment with providing different members-only benefits as we aspire to both broaden and deepen our community of supporters throughout Connecticut.