Let’s Make a Deal with Family Membership
With legacy PBS KIDS Clubs no longer an effective on-air membership acquisition tool, some stations are seeing success reinventing the idea of Family Membership around a parent-friendly value proposition that resonates with today’s young families. Parents are looking for things to do with their kids, and they want to do it without paying a lot of money. Family Membership offers parents the opportunity to get in on a good deal, and a good cause.
At WHYY in Philadelphia, Family Membership is $5 a month, and tangible benefits include six family events a year featuring PBS KIDS characters, as well as discounts to local restaurants, museums and community events. In marketing the Family Membership on-air and at events, WHYY also reinforces messaging about the proven impact of PBS KIDS content to help prepare kids for success in school and in life, thus positioning its PBS KIDS service as an educational cause worthy of support as families start to "age out" of the Family Membership.
Valley PBS employs a similar model in Fresno, CA, and has found its Family Membership program to be an effective vehicle for engaging Hispanic families. The program has also helped the station attract community partners to help with the legwork of producing community events, and bring in significant sponsorship dollars. See an example.
TPT is also seeing success in Minneapolis. A particularly effective tactic for TPT is integrating premium experiences for Family Members into existing station events. So, rather than produce exclusive Kids Club events, the station integrates a visible Family Membership presence at events happening anyway. And they are doing this in ways that both confirm value for Family Members and peak the interest of non-members. For example, at a PBS KIDS movie event that was free to the public, TPT reserved special seats for Family Members. Notably, TPT is also using door-to-door canvassing and telemarketing to recruit for Family Membership, which allows one-on-one conversations to be tweaked on the spot to present a value proposition that speaks to that individual donor, especially if the presence of children in the household becomes evident. Like Valley PBS, TPT also has success attracting sponsorship for its PBS KIDS Fmaily Membership events.
All three stations offer Family Membership as a sustaining membership, highlighting the ease and low-cost of monthly membership, and increasing their sustainer donor base in doing so.