Changing Your Dues Model – Where do you start?

Changing Your Dues Model – Where do you start?
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The time has finally come. You’ve discussed the topic with staff and Board members for a few years but have yet to fully embrace and address it. You’ve known there have been opportunities, but now you’re committed to making it a priority—you need to restructure your dues model. With that settled, you’ve moved on to the truly difficult part—where do you start?

Restructuring your dues model can provide you with a host of new opportunities, or it could prove counterproductive and backfire. Avoid the latter and reap the benefits of a successful dues model restructuring by keeping the following key elements in mind:

Avoid making decisions without data. It may seem obvious, but it does happen. This is a significant investment that will have long-term effects tied to it—be sure you and your team are gathering information to help guide your decisions.

Establish priorities and identify the nature of your dues model restructuring. Do you want to increase revenue, increase membership numbers, simplify your current system, or perhaps all three? Will you change dues prices or create a new membership category? Will you do both? The nature of your restructure should be directly tied to your priorities.

Gather information to inform specific changes. Regardless of your goals, understanding what your members want (i.e. when creating a new membership category) or their tolerance for change (i.e. a 5% dues increase) is essential. Use input from your members (such as perceived membership value represented in the chart below) to ensure you are delivering on the wants and/or needs of your customer base.

Spread the word. Make sure your hard work pays off by communicating your dues model changes effectively with your stakeholders. This requires a strategically crafted communications plan not only to ensure members are aware of the changes, but also to facilitate their buy-in.

Starting the process of restructuring your due model can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you gather data from your members, assess pricing sensitivities and tolerances, align changes with your priorities, test your market and think creatively about ways to both include new prospects and further engage current members, you’ll be well on your way to a new, improved dues model. If you have additional suggestions on this topic, please feel free to share in the comments section below. And if you’d like to explore how McKinley can help you rethink your dues model, get in touch!

Member Survey Results

This chart is a visual representation of the results from many association studies and shows how one association (No. 43) compares to 44 other participants in McKinley research.