Supporting Membership: Ideas for Supporting Members

Shawn Gossman

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Dec 16, 2005
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Shawn Gossman submitted a new Article:

Supporting Membership: Ideas for Supporting Members

Supporting Membership: Ideas for Supporting Members
By: Shawn J. Gossman (Forum Owner, TheAdminZone.com Moderator)

In this article, I wanted to point out some ideas for a supporting membership group function or members who donate to your forum. People seem to always be asking how they can get more donations and funds to help pay their hosting bills, so I decided to write an article about how to increase the chances of getting donations from other members. This article is copyright and property of Shawn J. Gossman, you may use it on your website without concent as long as you keep my name and credits and provide a link to this original copy on this site.

Setting Up a Supporting Member Group

First thing first is setting up a group with supporting member features. You want to allow supporting members to have more features than regular members do but you want to make sure regular members are not all in all left out. Just think of it as giving more to a supporting member than the basic default features of a regular member.

If you display ads to regular members, don't display ads to supporting members. Allow supporting members to change their user title, a common feature of most bulletin board software. Give supporting members a new title and group color and list them on the team page to show they have helped contributed to your forum hosting bills. Even give them a few extra boards all to themselves and other VIP members. Make a page explaining all the features and provide a link on every page where they can donate at. An example of a page can be found on my weather forum.

Getting members to donate!

First of all, the main rule in having a supporting feature option is that its a volunteer thing. You should never beg members to donate or threaten to close down if they don't. They will see you as desperate and probably not have much to do with your community, I know I wouldn't. You can try to get them by having donation drives and things like that. A feature I have is if a member refers a new member and their referral donates, they get half of the first year's donation. Its a little bit of money loss but it is worth it and gets other members involved. You should always explain to members they are never in any obligation to donate and NEVER, I mean NEVER try to decrease their features or do something like adding more advertisements and stuff like...

Read more about this article here...
 
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Sandrope

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Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Messages
10
Nice idea, however I would never base a forum on advertisements, sponsors or donors.
If I begin a project, I clarify the needed budget already in beforehand.
Donation drive etc. could be an optional feature which helps to generate some revenue, that's alright and your article pointed out very well how to handle such features.
But in my opinion the site' funding should be never a public topic ;)
 

Shawn Gossman

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Dec 16, 2005
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I always leave it optional but if users want to donate they may. Many times in the past, users PM me asking me to put a donation section up :)
 

Live2Die

Adherent
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
251
Having a donation page where you donate for added benefits Is often a good Idea. I was once on a set of forums where they bought a membership, got a different label and were able to change their username. (amongst additional bonuses)
The main thing Is that you support the forum when you donate, and all forums need support to keep themselves up and running.
 

ctimes

Participant
Joined
Mar 9, 2009
Messages
62
I know this is an older post but I was wondering how you keep track of the referral credit? Is there some type of system that can be used or would it need to be manually done?

We run no ads etc so with our yearly hosting fees coming up along with a couple plugins we'd like to have customised it would be nice to make the site self sustainable for these things and a supporting members setup seems to be the most practical way of doing it that would allow us to stay ad free :)

Throw in some possible return revenue for users themselves and it may even attract a little more activity I'm sure.
 

KyBB

Aspirant
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
26
Out of curiosity, what percentage of people actually donate? I've tried this in the past and it was pretty low uptake.
 

adbrad

Habitué
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Jun 20, 2010
Messages
1,291
as rough idea i have a donation page up, and out of 265 members over the year and a bit we have been open i've had 3 donations but at the moment there are no perks to donating as i'm not sure what extra features to offer.
 
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