Daily Buzz: Lessons From National Geographic

The National Geographic Society offers cautionary tales and valuable lessons from its membership program. Also: the downside of popularity-based grants.

The world has changed dramatically over the past 130 years, and so has the National Geographic Society since its founding in 1888.

The Membership Puzzle Project delves into the society’s history and shares a few key takeaways and cautionary tales from how the group’s membership program has evolved over the years.

National Geographic started as an exclusive scholarly membership organization and the magazine was one of the benefits. But, over time, the organization shifted to be commercially driven with multiple revenue streams, including TV, e-commerce, and gaming.

Although National Geographic’s initiatives haven’t all been successful, writer Cherie Hu says they do provide valuable lessons for organizations looking to build their own membership programs. Among them: Grow through means of organic passion and commitment from existing members, and give community members a platform to grow their own brand and exercise and share their own skills

The Harm in Popularity-Based Grants

Nonprofits are always looking for funding from a variety of places, including from corporate partners. But some of them may have a bone to pick with popularity-based grants.

Corporations are taking to social media and asking their audience to vote for the nonprofit they would like to see funded, but Nonprofit AF says that these types of contests are damaging.

“Since nonprofits need money to do our work, many of us will engage in these types of contests, hustling to get our community members to go and vote,” says Vu Le. “Unfortunately, there will likely be only a couple of winners, which means everyone else wasted dozens of hours of time.”

Other Links of Note

To mark its 20th anniversary, Google is revamping Search. Google is planning to add more images to search results, reports Wired.

Take your ideation sessions from thoughts to products. Meeting designer and facilitator Adrian Segar recommends brainstorming new products and services at your conferences.

How is our current political situation affecting volunteering? VolunteerMatch delivers a report.

(iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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