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Membership Strategy

Meals on Wheels of Durham’s Executive Director, Gale Adland came to Catchafire with many long-standing areas of organizational need, principal among them was the program’s pledge to end senior hunger by 2020. The path they needed to be on to reach this goal meant they’ll need to feed 30% more seniors by the end of 2013.

The challenge

Gale's strategic plan identifies the steps needs to take to reach the end-of-year membership targets. However, she needs help turning her plan into a reality.


  • Create a detailed report including recommendations on best methods for outreach to potential clients (events, programs, customer service, etc).
  • Develop innovative ways to stand out in the community and an eagle-eyed scrutiny of the current strengths and weaknesses of the competitive landscape.

The Match

  • Gale posts a Membership Strategy Project hoping to receive an analysis of their current membership program, step-by-step guide to a new and improved program, and creative outreach strategies.
  • Within weeks, Jayme, a buyer from Target, applies for project.
  • Gale and Jayme both accepted the match and the project begins.

“My interest in food insecurity and risk of hunger is what drew me to this project. I thought it would be an engaging project that would allow me to share my skills while helping connect the organization with local seniors who face these issues. My grandmother was a recipient of Meals on Wheels in her community so I know firsthand how valuable this organization is for seniors and disabled adults who need home delivered meals.”
— Jayme

The solution

  • Gale completes an initial Project Brief and meets with Jayme to discuss the current membership program, development, budget and growth goals.
  • Jayme develops and executes an in-depth S.W.O.T Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).
  • Jayme conducts an independent market analysis to research the target market, competition, and peer organizations’ membership program development strategies.
  • Jayme delivers a strategy document including membership development/engagement recommendations.
  • Gale reviews and provides feedback.
  • Jayme incorporates feedback and finalizes the strategy document.
  • The duo then conducts a wrap-up meeting and discusses next steps for the organization to implement this strategy for membership development.

The result

“I was able to research the issues, trends, and disparities regarding senior hunger; gather demographic data for senior community; and quantify the number of seniors impacted by food insecurity in Durham. This knowledge, combined with psychographic data from current members, allowed me to recommend a short term strategic plan for growing the Meals on Wheels of Durham member base 30% by the end of 2013.”
— Jayme

The impact

The comprehensive research, detailed analysis and actionable steps Jayme outlined has given Meals on Wheels of Durham a clear path to achieving its ultimate goal.

“Jayme is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. Our Membership Strategy Project with her was phenomenal. She interpreted the results of our annual client survey, researched Senior Hunger in general, in North Carolina, and in Durham. Her recommendations encompassed where to look for more clients as well as how to look for them. Jayme, along with Frank Pollock, matched with us for a second project.”
— Gale

“Through volunteerism and service endeavors, I’ve been able to partner with others to solve problems, learn about issues I wouldn’t have considered on my own, and broaden my perspective regarding communal health and well-being. I believe donating my time and attention keeps me grounded and rounded while also allowing me to drive positive change.”
— Jayme

Jayme’s 50-hour project resulted in $12K saved for Meals on Wheels of Durham.

The Organization
Meals on Wheel of Durham delivers hot, nutritious meals to Durham County residents who are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves, enhancing their quality of life. Since its inception in 1975, they have served more than 1.75 million meals. They strive to have the capacity to ensure that any member of their community who needs services will receive them.
The Volunteer
Jayme is a business professional residing in Raleigh, North Carolina. She came to Catchafire with over 7 years of experience, in both the nonprofit world and working as a generalist for the Target Corporation. Leveraging corporate experience in strategic planning, project management, portfolio management, and leadership, she hoped to invest her skills in serving organizations that strive to create social equity in their communities.