How to Change Your Association’s Dues Model

How to Change Your Association’s Dues Model

How do you evolve your dues models along with changing demographics and environmental shifts?

How can you increase market share and retention by understanding member perceptions of the value of your membership? How do you identify opportunities for incremental increases in dues revenue without alienating core members? How will changes to your dues structure impact overall revenue, including non-dues income? How can you increase the actual and perceived value of membership in relation to your dues? Has the time finally come to change the dues model for your professional association? If so, or if you’re considering changing your model down the road, here are a few elements to keep in mind:

Prospect Inclusivity. While crafting your new or revised membership categories, you want to ensure that your association provides a home for everyone who could feasibly be a member. Whether they are students, retirees, or groups from a specific demographic category, they should be able to envision themselves fitting into your association community. Even if you don’t create specific membership categories for each discrete audience, offering personalized reasons for different prospects to join can make a more compelling case for your broader market.

Benefits Exclusivity. You may want to entertain the idea of establishing exclusive elements to your membership benefits package. Models that provide a basic package, with opportunities to access premium options at slightly higher rates, are steadily becoming more popular and are worth exploring. Not only do exclusive benefits provide an additional opportunity to connect with and provide key differentiators to members, but they also can serve as a way to tier your membership structure. These exclusive benefits can help differentiate your association from your competitors and also enhance your visibility and appeal in your industry. While this approach may not be effective or realistic for all professional associations, it’s an option you may want to consider.

Dues Price Sensitivity. One of the critical questions that associations need to answer is how much members are willing to pay for their membership. To address that need, we often conduct surveys with members to gauge their price sensitivity. The work below was conducted on behalf of an organization with a low annual dues rate. However, with our help the association was able to double its dues, up to $50, with virtually no negative outcomes. Conducting a member survey to capture this input is just one way we identify opportunities for incremental increases in dues revenue without alienating core members.

With thoughts of prospect inclusivity and benefits exclusivity fresh on your mind, why stop there? Read more if you’re interested in diving into the key elements of a successful dues model change and how to get started.

Interested on our take for trade associations? Read our recent blog post.