There’s probably a lot of us taking stock right now, looking back over the last year wondering, ‘did that all really happen?!’

Well in the case of SCVO as a membership organisation, it definitely wasn’t the year we had planned.  We were in the midst of undertaking vital engagement to deliver on our strategic commitment to ‘review the value membership offers’.  We truly value our members and want them to value their membership of SCVO too.  We were seeking to make our membership offer as attractive, relevant and accessible as possible; and we were relying on the valuable insights of our members and the sector to make that happen.

We were fortunate to have been able to engage with a number of our members and the wider sector before covid made its full effects known.  However, the focus groups, dedicated engagement and events we had planned had to be rethought.  Our members and organisations across the country were facing critical threats to their viability while demonstrating that they were ‘never more needed’. But we found what I would call a ‘silver lining’. As well as being in responsive mode with the wider sector, we were in full listening mode. We were able to hear and see what our members valued through the reach of SCVO and our collective voluntary sector via the various covid channels, support and engagement that were being offered. We made the most of it, helping us to understand how you were being affected and the support you valued now and going forward.   

So what did the review tell us?We have genuinely been so fortunate to have such a range of full and frank conversations with our members, supporters and the wider sector. We really appreciate everyone who took the time to chat to us, fill in a survey or connect on a particular issue they felt strongly about.  Thank you for telling us what you use, need and value.  It has helped us to feel even more connected to our members, and you definitely gave me the energy and inspiration to lead this review, thank you!

You were clear on what was working for you and what wasn’t!  You wanted to feel attachment to SCVO, it should be about ‘mutual benefit’ so we value one another and you should be able to easily understand and access your membership benefits.  As you might expect, there was a huge focus on funding and providing as much support as possible, particularly to smaller organisations.  You acknowledged that our brand refresh has helped us to present ourselves more clearly, so you engage with us better. You also recognised that we have a role in supporting both our members and the wider sector, which are not mutually exclusive.

So… our new Membership Benefits Package is all based on your feedback, offering as much value and exclusivity as possible. It was approved by 93% of our members voting earlier in 2021 and was implemented at the start of April 2021.

We have amended our membership categories, reducing from six fee bands to just three. This is a simpler structure and supports our aim of making membership free or affordable for the majority of the voluntary sector in Scotland. More organisations than ever will now be eligible for free SCVO membership – so if you have an income under £100k you can join us for free! Our smallest member organisations (income under £500k) will also get more practical benefits from membership – including our pro-bono and HR services. The largest organisations will pay slightly more to enable us to offer free access to the smallest organisations, but we recognise the financial pressures everyone is facing, so we haven’t implemented any radical changes at this time.

Our new membership benefits will include brand new member-only information, learning and support services, with exclusive access to news, networking and influencing opportunities.  Benefits vary across the member and supporter categories (depending on your annual income) but highlights for all categories include:

  • Full access to funding information and updates on Funding Scotland, including exclusive SCVO member-only saved searches and email alerts
  • Exclusive access to current and back issues of Third Force News (TFN), with an option of the TFN app for mobile users
  • Personalised ‘Member or Supporter Area’ in your SCVO User Account with access to all your subscription details and benefits – so you can access them all in one place! We’ve started with TFN and Funding Scotland and will be developing this throughout 2021 to improve functionality and welcome any feedback.
  • First look/ priority booking for the Gathering, Charity Awards and training courses

I am really delighted to say we are alreadyseeing a huge influx of new members, with such varied reasons for joining SCVO – a sector never more needed and hopefully an SCVO never more valued!

If you are not yet a member and interested in joining, all you need to do is complete our membership application form which should only take a matter of minutes.  We continue to always welcome feedback on how we’re doing as a membership organisation, so please get in touch anytime by visiting our membership pages or get in touch with the membership team

Our membership review may be concluded, but this is just the start of our new offer and approach to membership!