Planning your membership website

The website should be the workhorse of any modern day membership organisation, not developed in isolation but as an integral part of an organisations, business, IT and communication strategy. From managing membership via a CRM, taking online payments, providing e-learning all significantly reduces administration time and will start to meet expectations of the member.

Below are a few tips and hints to get you going on a new website project:

Establishing the stakeholders & steering group – identify who needs to be involved in the website project to give input into its business requirements, content and functionality and sign-off stages. Membership organisations can be notorious for having too many boards, committees and sub committees involved in projects which quickly become unmanageable, so keep the team small.

Getting buy in – Once you have your team assembled get them to agree to a key goals for the project. With membership organisations includes points such as:

  • What are the membership organisational goals and objectives
  • What is the purpose and benefit to the members
  • What internal efficiencies could be realised by the project
  • What are the expectations in terms of time and budget to deliver the project (often membership websites will be a phased delivery depending on what systems are being integrated into the main website)

This part is often best conducted through individual interviews to capture expectations and requirements from all and then present back to the steering group.

Running discovery days – its important that once you have your steering group agreed and initial interviews completed you run a discovery process to start capturing the more detailed requirements, functionality of the website, it’s audience, content strategy and technical requirements.

Correct documentation – Once the discovery process has been completed the output should include as a minimum two documents:

  • Business requirements – ensures website and digital strategy are aligned with business objectives and expectations of board are managed as to why the website is being developed
  • Functional specification document (FSD) – alignment of business, IT and marketing objectives providing the website functionality. This would normally be accompanied by a set of wireframes that visualise the FSD.

You should now have the necessary plans to move forward and start designing and building your website.


For more information on understanding your member needs, please call Ben Sturt on 07469 768990 or email


Chrysalis Digital provides a digital transformation service designed to help build a more agile, efficient and innovative organisation. With its broad cross sector experience Chrysalis has helped many organisations map their digital path and through careful planning and assessment, choose the right technology partners.   Chrysalis Digital is 100% agnostic when recommending CMS and CRM suppliers to its clients.


03 February 2016

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