Rafter – who won 17 Test caps between 1977 and 1981 as well as leading Bristol to victory in a John Player Cup Final at Twickenham – and Bristol Shoguns owner Malcolm Pearce are hoping that 5,000 membership packages will be taken up by supporters and local businesses before the end of April in order to help guarantee professional rugby continues in the city, following recent speculation that the Shoguns could be forced to relocate to Oxford.
"Malcolm Pearce has spent a lot of money supporting the club over the last five years and he has said he can't continue on his own. This is an opportunity for the whole Bristol community to make a contribution and get behind both Malcolm and the Bristol Shoguns," said Rafter.
The membership scheme will cost £250 for a seated season ticket, £200 for a standing season ticket and £150 for a standing season ticket for OAPs, students and Under-16s.
In addition members will receive a free shirt in next season's new style. A range of benefits will be unveiled during the season, starting with a draw for £5,000 in cash at the first home league match.
"I think the offer represents excellent value for money and is a wonderful way for people to show their support. But we need to act quickly and make sure we've raised the funds by the end of April. Then we can plan for the future with confidence," added Rafter.
Bristol Shoguns Chairman Malcolm Pearce said he was delighted with the new initiative: "Recently I've been encouraged by a number of things. More people are getting interested in helping out, last week the players handed back their win bonus for beating Harlequins and now Mike and the former players are leading this new campaign.
"It really makes me think we can ensure Bristol stays in the city and continues to compete at the highest level."