Every association manages dues a little differently—and there’s much to learn from the perspective of other organizations. Check out some smart thinking in the archives.
It admittedly comes with the territory, but associations think a lot about member dues—how to collect them, how to increase them, and how to give members a break during tough times.
And the past year and a half has brought this thinking into sharp relief.
With that in mind, here are some noteworthy pieces from the archives that will get you thinking about how and when to raise your member dues:
Focus on Lowering Expenses Rather Than Raising Membership Dues. When members are financially stressed, raising dues can strain loyalty. This roundup offers ideas for one alternative—cutting expenses. Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of Avenue M Group, compares the process to managing your personal costs. “Keep your members and figure out other strategies to lower expenses, much as you would do with your own household budget,” she says.
Should You Increase Membership Dues? This piece takes on dues increases through the eyes of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, which has chosen not to raise dues during the pandemic. “Our first instinct when the pandemic hit was to take as much stress off institutions as we could to try and maintain as much retention as we could,” says Ashley Hodak Sullivan, NACUA’s director of membership and marketing.
Member Dues Installment Options Are a Win-Win. If your association has been thinking about installment options, read this piece highlighting the potential of that approach and noting its growth within the association sector. “It allows them a little bit of room to breathe,” says Melody Jordan-Carr, vice president of membership at the American Trucking Associations, a group that offers its members installment options.
Rules of Engagement: When to Offer Dues Waivers? Hardships happen—and not just during the pandemic. This piece discusses strategies associations can use for deciding when to offer hardship waivers to their members. “It’s up to the association and membership staff to kind of feel it out,” says John Lingerfelt, senior manager of membership at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Avoid Sticker Shock With Gradual Dues Increases. It can be tempting to increase dues amid a shortfall, but doing it the wrong way can leave members feeling disappointed in you. This piece highlights the challenges the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology faced when it implemented a sudden 6 percent increase to its membership dues—leading to a cap on future dues increases.