Giving the gift of membership to one of your favorite organizations is a perfect way to tell somebody that you want them to share your interests and spend some time together. It's extending a hand of friendship and inviting the recipient to join you in a common experience - not just at the time of giving the gift, but throughout the year and beyond.
We belong to quite a few museums and local organizations that offer annual memberships as a way to show our support and enjoy the benefits of being a contributing member. Memberships most often include a discounted rate or free admission to events and other activities, and this is reflected in our Events Calendar. Many of the events we list will show pricing tiers for members and non-members, or are listed as 'Free with the price of admission' (translation = "Free to members").
Gift Memberships are great because they benefit the giver, the receiver and the organization. It's a true win, win, win situation, with lots of additional benefits:
- The giver can feel good because they are giving a meaningful gift to a person they care for while supporting a cause or organization that is important to them.
- The recipient is not just receiving a gift, they are being invited to share in the givers life, and are hopefully being exposed to something new and fun that will enrich their own.
- The organization is benefiting from having a new member that will hopefully enjoy their membership so much that they become a longtime supporter, and better yet invite more people to join.
- There is a new avenue for both the giver and receiver to spend time with each other and develop a common interest.
- Membership giving is 'green' - i.e. less packaging, less time shopping and using fuel to find gifts
- Gift memberships help support local community resources
- A membership lasts all year, so each time it is used, it's like getting the gift all over again.
- Some gift memberships offer a 'sponsorship' or similar tier that make membership a tax deduction.
- You can break a lot of gifts, but it's pretty hard to break a membership!
- Your gift membership more than likely will not need batteries!
Of course the only downfall of gifting memberships is that the recipient will probably renew their membership on their own if they enjoy it enough, so you'll have trouble finding a better gift for them next year.
Here's a great list of recommended organizations and museums (and direct links to their membership pages) around Massachusetts' North Shore that will sure to please almost anybody on your list this year. Some offer special services for gift memberships, and others will accommodate gift memberships if you specify that you would like to purchase the membership as a gift during checkout.
- The Trustees of Reservations
- Mass Audubon
- Peabody Essex Museum
- Essex National Heritage Area
- Historic New England
Essex County Greenbelt Association
- make a note at checkout
- Essex County Trail Association
- Firehouse Center for the Arts
- Maritime Gloucester
- Wenham Museum
- Lynn Museum and Historical Society
- Cape Ann Museum
- Museum of Printing
- Ipswich Museum
- The Marblehead Museum & Historical Society
- New England Aquarium
- Museum of Science
- Children's Museum of New Hampshire
- Boston Children's Museum
- Essex Shipbuilding Museum
Another great gift idea for the person in your life who likes to explore the outdoors would be an annual DCR Parkpass - which waives parking fees at many state resources including many gems right here on the North Shore like Maudslay State Park and Halibut Point State Park!