membership directory

Benefits of Printing a Membership Directory

Ann O'Brien

June 2, 2022

With so many organizations and groups utilizing online communication, holding a printed membership directory in your hands might seem like something out of the past. But more and more, groups are now printing a physical copy of their membership directories instead of relying on online databases to provide group information to its members. Online directories can be a convenient way for groups to keep members connected so why are printed copies of directories so popular? Let’s take a look at the benefits of printing a membership directory and why your group should consider this option for your organization.

What Types of Organizations Use Directories?

While any group could use a directory, groups that need or want their members to be in contact with each other often find that a printed directory is helpful. Some of the types of groups that often print directories are:

  • Alumni groups
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Clubs or social groups
  • Professional trade associations
  • Religious organizations
  • School groups
  • Sporting clubs, teams, or organizations

Benefits of Membership Directory Printing

Having a hard copy of a directory for your members to use is beneficial for the members themselves as well as for the organization as a whole. Membership directory printing may even be helpful in spreading the word about the organization to potential group members, too as well as bringing in needed funds for the group in some cases.

Printed Membership Directories Keep Groups Connected

Probably the most obvious way that printed directories help your group is to keep members connected. Members with a paper directory do not have to be online to access group names, phone numbers, addresses, and group affiliations. For groups that do not meet regularly or only contact other members infrequently, physical copies of directories are helpful because members can quickly access personal details of the group without a member being required to upkeep a digital directory for very infrequent usage. If the purpose of a physical directory is to aid in keeping a group connected, a printed copy makes that connection simple. This physical copy makes it as easy as possible for everyone in the group. No one has to maintain an online database and members do not have to remember passwords or other identifying data to keep their personal information safe online.

Membership directories can also be structured in a way that helps group members be in touch with one another by providing tabs, indexes, special notations, or other organizational tools that group together like members. Members can be grouped by:

  • Age or class for schools, sports, religious groups, clubs, or other organizations
  • Location (neighborhood, city, state, or region) for schools, alumni groups, chamber, and trade association members
  • Membership Year designations in social or professional groups

Membership Directories Can Publicize the Organization

One of the potentially beneficial aspects of membership directory printing is that the directory itself can be a permanent advertisement for the group. Not only can directories include contact information for members of the group, but they can also be a good place to include upcoming events and a calendar for the next season, year, or scheduled meetings. Organizations can also use part of the directory to print a short history or biography of the group or feature specific members or activities that the group has done in the past or participates in regularly. A directory could even spotlight the group’s good works, charitable causes, or beneficiaries so members and potential members that see the directory will understand more about the aim and purpose of the organization.

A Directory Emphasizes Membership Value

Members will tangibly feel their part of a larger group when they have a professionally-printed directory in hand. They can not only see their place in the organization, but also the group’s contributions to society, their larger causes, or directly to its members. As a result, members may feel a greater connection to the group itself, its mission as well as the other members. A quality directory will also add to a membership’s value when the publication includes helpful information like organization updates and reminders or information about the industry or associations related to the group. Members can experience the value of being a part of the organization when the directory includes offers from group sponsors or advertisers and any partnerships that the group may have with businesses in the community. Directory creators may even choose to include articles of interest for members to enhance their membership value through the printed publication.

Membership Directories Can Be Fundraisers

A concrete benefit of a printed directory is the possibility of using it as a fundraiser in three primary ways.

  1. Some groups create a functional directory that includes all membership details along with group information like schedules, leadership teams, or other critical information that the organization could use. This usually makes a directory that members will need or want to purchase resulting in a modest fundraiser after printing costs are recouped.
  2. Groups may wish to seek out advertisers or business sponsorships to help raise money through their membership directory printing. Advertisers can pay for the privilege of having their business names included in specific locations in the directory with high-traffic areas like the back cover or key pages costing more. Sponsors may contribute directly to the printing costs of the directory in exchange for a prominent acknowledgment in the publication.
  3. Groups may seek out advertisements and sponsorships as well as sell the directory to its members.

How to Make a Directory for Your Organization?

Organizations of any size or purpose can create a beautiful and practical membership directory for their group. But organizers should keep a few key details in mind when planning for this type of publication.

Binding – The most economical way to bind your membership directory is to publish it with Saddle Stitch binding. This works for booklets from 4 to 80 pages in length because the center is bound with staples. For larger books, Plastic Coil or Wire-O bindings are an excellent option. These ring and hole punch-style bindings allow pages to lay open flat, making them convenient for some group uses. Perfect Binding uses a strong adhesive to secure the pages to the spine of the book and this style of binding can be used with a softcover.

Cover – Design an interesting cover for your publication that provides instant recognition for your group and the publication’s purpose. If you need help, enlist professional design help especially if you want your directory to generate revenue.

Format – Consider using Microsoft Word or Google Sheets to help you organize member information in your directory. Choose the format in tandem with the finished publication size and binding style to save time and effort before you begin creating the publication process.

Member Information – Be sure to include all relevant information for your group members, including complete contact details, group associations, or organization participation.

Pictures –Individual member pictures are a great inclusion in your directory. Any member or group photos, event pictures, or other photos relevant to your group should all be at least 300 dpi so they will print in high resolution.

Publisher – Be sure to work with a reliable publisher like Publishing Xpress to get your membership directory printing completed. Using an experienced digital printing company means your group will be proud of their publication and you don’t have to worry about the quality of the work whether you plan to simply distribute the directories or sell them for a profit.

Quantity – Try to estimate how many books you plan to sell or distribute early on in the process. Potential advertisers or sponsors will want to know what the distribution of the directory will be. Accurate numbers may help to increase sales and ultimately revenue for the group. Some groups even offer a discounted price for pre-ordering directories with only a limited number of books for sale after publication to encourage members to confirm their directory needs.

Size – Choose standard sizing rather than a customized size for the membership directory printing process to save costs and maximize profits from the directory if you are using it as a fundraiser. Check with your publisher to confirm the size before formatting your directory.

Structure – Think about the most helpful way to structure your directory so that members will easily be able to find who and what they need to. Popular options are age/year, alphabetical, geographical, function, or other membership descriptors. Consider using a Table of Contents, Index of names, or even tabs on pages to help members find each other more easily.

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