How to Successfully Run A Nonprofit Subscription Website

Hw to successfully run a nonprofit subscription website

Discover how a nonprofit subscription website can transform your fundraising efforts, offering a sustainable and engaging way to connect with supporters.

Can a membership site make your nonprofit more successful?

Think about it. Creating a membership site for your nonprofit does more than just attract donations. It's an excellent chance for nonprofits looking to gather a community of dedicated backers.

Membership platforms can act as magnets, attracting individuals eager to contribute to and shape the endeavors of thriving nonprofit organizations.They forge a strong community where every member plays a significant role in your mission's success.

And their contributions go beyond financial support as they gain a real stake in your projects and see firsthand the outcomes of their involvement. This dynamic shifts the traditional donation model, making every member a vital part of your nonprofit's progress.

But here's where the idea gets even better: each new member you welcome reduces the renewal costs significantly. This approach proves to be far more effective in generating funds than relying on single-time contributions.

Now, if all these perks make sense to you, you might be wondering, “How do I bring this to life for my nonprofit?”

That's where WishList Member steps in. It's the toolkit you need to create an engaging, dynamic membership site that resonates with your audience, encouraging them to invest not just their funds but their hearts and minds into your cause.

Let's take a comprehensive look into how WishList Member can transform your nonprofit's approach to engagement and fundraising.

Why Creating Your Own Membership Site is More Effective

Operating your own membership site offers total control over how you run your nonprofit, potentially leading to higher profitability compared to using platforms like Patreon.

With Patreon, you're essentially fitting your membership model into a predefined template. This includes the design, membership fees, billing cycles, and even how you receive payments – after Patreon takes its cut. You can tweak certain aspects like switching from monthly to yearly billing, but the overall framework remains rigid.

In contrast, managing your own site means you can shape every aspect of your brand and the member experience.

You're not boxed into someone else's system; you can craft your content presentation exactly how you see fit. This autonomy ensures you're not at the mercy of a third-party platform's changing rules or potential shutdowns.

Launching Your Own Membership Website with WordPress

WordPress powers nearly 40% of all websites, and its popularity is well-founded:

  • Cost-Effective: WordPress is free and open-source.
  • Extensive Customization: Thousands of both free and premium plugins and themes make it possible to convert your site into virtually anything, including a robust nonprofit membership site.
  • User-Friendly: Even without deep tech skills, anyone can set up a WordPress site quickly.
  • Secure and Reliable: Simple security enhancements can be made with plugins like Bulletproof Security or iThemes Security Pro.
  • SEO and Flexibility: WordPress scores highly for SEO, making it likely to perform well in search engine rankings.

4 Key Benefits of Offering Memberships for Nonprofits

The Essence of Nonprofit Subscription Sites

At its core, a nonprofit subscription site offers a space where individuals can subscribe to support a cause they care deeply about. This model is akin to a membership, where the commitment to regular contributions sets the foundation for a long-term relationship between the nonprofit and its supporters.

The recurring nature of these donations is crucial, as it helps nonprofits forecast their budget more accurately, ensuring they have the funds needed to plan and execute their projects effectively. Which brings us to our next point…

The Power of Recurring Donations

Recurring donations are the lifeblood of sustainable funding for nonprofits. They provide a predictable income, reducing the uncertainty and financial volatility that can come with one-off donations.

This consistency allows nonprofits to focus more on their mission and less on constant fundraising efforts. According to a report by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, the retention rate for recurring donors was 90% in 2020, highlighting the stability and loyalty this type of giving engenders.

Benefits Beyond Funding

Beyond the financial stability, subscription sites foster a closer relationship between the organization and its donors. Subscribers often receive updates, reports, and exclusive content, making them feel more connected to the cause and aware of the impact of their contributions. This heightened engagement can lead to increased advocacy and support for the nonprofit's mission.

Implementing Recurring Donations

To set up a successful nonprofit subscription website, organizations should focus on user experience, making the subscription process simple and the benefits clear. Tools like WishList Member offer seamless integration for WordPress sites, making it easier for nonprofits to manage subscriptions and engage with their donors effectively.

Patreon for Nonprofits: A Popular but Imperfect Solution?

Patreon Homepage

Nonprofits have been exploring platforms like Patreon for recurring support, drawn by its straightforward setup and promise of a steady revenue stream. Since its inception in 2013, Patreon has offered an appealing prospect for nonprofits: a way to cultivate a supportive community and secure monthly pledges, giving a clear view of incoming revenue.

On Patreon, nonprofits set up a page where supporters can choose different tiers of membership, each with its own set of rewards or perks, encouraging a sustained monthly contribution. The strategy of granting insider status and exclusive content to paying members proved effective in building a loyal base.

The Appeal of Patreon

Patreon's user-friendly interface and widespread popularity make it an attractive option for nonprofits seeking to engage younger demographics and digital natives. It simplifies the process of setting up a recurring donation system without requiring significant technical know-how, making it accessible for smaller or less tech-savvy organizations.

Patreon for Nonprofits: A Double-Edged Sword

While Patreon facilitates the growth of nonprofit communities and engagement with core supporters, it also introduces dependencies and challenges:

  • Fees and Financial Considerations: Patreon takes a cut from each donation as a platform fee, which can reduce the total amount that goes directly to the nonprofit's cause.

  • Limited Customization: While Patreon offers ease of use, it limits how much nonprofits can tailor their pages and donation tiers to fully reflect their brand and mission. Operating within Patreon's framework restricts how nonprofits can present themselves. The uniformity of Patreon pages does little to differentiate one nonprofit's mission and identity from another, diluting brand impact.

  • Donor Data Ownership: Using third-party platforms can restrict nonprofits' access to and control over their donor data, posing challenges for donor relationship management and long-term engagement strategies.

  • Content Censorship Risks: Nonprofits are subject to the platform's policies and changes, which can affect their fundraising strategies and donor communications without prior notice. There have been instances where Patreon has censored content or removed membership sites not fully in line with its Terms and Conditions. Such actions can abruptly cut off both members and revenue, leaving nonprofits vulnerable.

Given these limitations, nonprofits might find platforms specifically designed for their unique needs, like WishList Member, a more fitting solution.

These specialized platforms offer greater control over content, deeper engagement with donors, and more flexibility in managing and acknowledging donations, aligning more closely with the requirements and values of nonprofit organizations.

While Patreon and similar platforms offer a quick start to recurring donations, nonprofits must weigh the benefits against the constraints and consider solutions that offer greater autonomy and alignment with their mission and operational needs.

WishList Member: A Tailored Solution for Nonprofits

WishList Member Homepage

WishList Member stands out as a WordPress plugin crafted with the needs of nonprofit organizations in mind, offering unparalleled flexibility and customization. This tool transforms any WordPress site into a full-featured membership platform, giving nonprofits the power to manage their community of supporters with ease.

Key Features of WishList Member

  • Membership Levels: Nonprofits can create multiple membership tiers, each offering different access levels or benefits. This allows organizations to cater to a diverse supporter base, from casual donors to the most dedicated patrons.

  • Content Protection: WishList Member ensures that exclusive content is just that – exclusive. Nonprofits can restrict access to certain pages, posts, or resources, making them available only to designated membership levels.

  • Seamless Payment Integration: With WishList Member, integrating with leading payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and others is straightforward. This ensures a smooth donation process, encouraging more supporters to sign up for recurring contributions.

  • Comprehensive Member Management: The plugin offers detailed member management tools, allowing nonprofits to track subscriptions, manage memberships, and communicate with their supporters effectively.

  • Customizable Registration Forms: Nonprofits can tailor registration forms to capture essential information from their supporters, enhancing the ability to connect and engage with their community on a more personal level.

By leveraging these features, nonprofits can create a subscription site that aligns with their mission and branding and offers a user-friendly experience for their supporters. This level of control and customization is what sets WishList Member apart, making it an ideal choice for nonprofits looking to build and manage a thriving online community.

In short, WishList Member provides a robust, flexible platform for nonprofits to engage with their supporters, secure recurring donations, and protect exclusive content, all while maintaining their unique brand identity.

This specialized tool empowers organizations to harness the full potential of their membership site, ensuring a sustainable and impactful online presence.

4 Benefits of Using WishList Member for Your Nonprofit Subscription Website

WishList Member stands out as a robust solution for nonprofits looking to maximize their online presence and donor engagement. Its array of features not only simplifies the management of recurring donations but also enriches the donor experience, fostering a deeper sense of community and trust.

1. Recurring Donations Made Easy

One of the standout benefits of using WishList Member is how it streamlines the setup and management of recurring donations. With its intuitive interface and seamless integration with major payment gateways, nonprofits can easily establish a recurring donation system.

This ensures a steady flow of support, crucial for long-term planning and project sustainability. The process is designed to be hassle-free for both the organization and the donors, encouraging more supporters to commit to ongoing contributions.

2. Exclusive Content for Donors

WishList Member enables nonprofits to create a tiered membership system, where different levels of support grant access to various types of exclusive content. This could range from in-depth reports and newsletters to videos and special webinars.

Offering these perks not only incentivizes higher levels of support but also keeps donors engaged and informed about the nonprofit's work and achievements. This strategy has been shown to enhance donor retention, as supporters value the insider information and feel more connected to the cause.

3. Transparency and Trust

Transparency is key in building and maintaining trust with supporters. WishList Member facilitates this by allowing nonprofits to share detailed updates and reports directly through their membership site.

Donors can see firsthand how their contributions are making a difference, reinforcing their commitment to the cause. This level of openness is invaluable in nurturing a loyal supporter base who are more likely to advocate for the nonprofit's mission.

4. Full Control and Ownership

Unlike third-party platforms like Patreon, which impose their own branding and operational constraints, WishList Member offers nonprofits full control over their membership site. This autonomy means organizations can tailor every aspect of the site to reflect their brand and mission, from the layout and design to the content and member interaction.

Full ownership of the platform and the data it generates also means nonprofits aren't subject to sudden policy changes or fees, ensuring stability and security for both the organization and its donors.

Best Practices for Thriving Nonprofit Membership Sites

As you embark on expanding your nonprofit’s membership base using WordPress and tools like WishList Member, consider these foundational strategies:

  1. Define Your Membership Program Clearly: Establish clear goals and benefits for your membership program to ensure potential members understand what they are signing up for.

  2. Simplify the Sign-Up Process: Ensure the registration process is straightforward and quick, removing any barriers that might deter potential members.

  3. Design Tiered Membership Levels: Create up to three levels of membership, each offering progressively greater benefits to encourage upgrades and sustained engagement.

  4. Set Appropriate Membership Fees: Conduct research on membership pricing in your sector to set fees that are neither too high nor too low but reflect the value of membership.

  5. Promote Your Membership Program Actively: Use various marketing channels to announce and promote your membership program to reach a wider audience.

  6. Communicate Content Updates Regularly: Keep your members informed about when new content is available, such as daily posts or weekly updates, to maintain their interest and engagement.

  7. Engage with Members Consistently: Regular interaction with your members can significantly enhance their experience and loyalty to your cause.

  8. Facilitate Member Interaction: On your site, provide a space where members can communicate with each other, fostering a community atmosphere.

  9. Offer Exclusive Interaction Opportunities: Organize special events like Q&A sessions or live discussions where members can engage directly with your team.

  10. Maintain Regular Communication Through Email: Use email drip campaigns to stay connected with members, providing updates and personalized content.

  11. Commit for the Long Term: Building a successful membership site is a long-term endeavor. Stay committed to continually enhancing the member experience and growing your community.

These strategies are crucial for building a robust and engaging nonprofit membership site that attracts and retains members effectively.


Your nonprofit needs more than a platform. It needs tools it needs to thrive in a digital world. With WishList Member's suite of features, you and your nonprofit have a larger potential to flourish.

With its ability to tailor experiences for your donors, manage recurring revenue streams with ease, and maintain full control over your content and community, WishList Member is designed to meet the unique challenges and opportunities nonprofits face.

For nonprofits poised to transcend the limitations of conventional platforms and step into a realm of greater autonomy and connection, WishList Member invites exploration. It’s an opportunity to see how a specialized tool can refine your fundraising efforts and fortify relationships with your community.

We’re eager to engage with your insights or any inquiries you might have. Feel free to spark a dialogue in the comments section below. Let’s explore together how WishList Member can elevate your nonprofit in this digital era.

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"We’ve tried a couple of other membership tools that were part of packages that we’d invested in. But nothing can compare to WishList Member. I know that there’s a lot of cool stuff out there that people have been building over the years. But when it comes to customization, if you use WordPress, you can’t touch this. Obviously, I’m super biased, but we’ve made millions of dollars because of this product."
Tristan Truscott
Satori Method
I have moved [WishList Member] into my top list of options for people. The new WishList Member packs a punch! And the price for WishList Member makes it a fantastic offer.
Chris Lema
WishList Member integrates with the tools I use TODAY. And they’re so eager to integrate with tools that are coming out. It’s amazing how they do it actually. If I was going to be buying a membership plugin, today… for me, I would go with WishList Member.
Adam Preiser