Unique Membership Models

Unique Membership Models

AAM: 1 Year, 40 Percent Membership Growth

The American Alliance of Museums, formerly the American Association of Museums, embarked on a bold change last year to revamp its membership and dues structure. In the October 2013 issue of FORUM magazine, published by the Association Forum of Chicagoland, Janet Vaughan, the Alliance’s vice president of membership and excellence and Tracy Talbot, McKinley’s practice director discuss the successes of communicating the organization’s bold changes. See below for an excerpt from the article.


A Common Trend: Declining Membership AAM is a hybrid organization that offers both institutional and individual memberships. It reached an all-time high in institutional memberships in December 2000. From that point forward, it has seen a steady decline of institutional members in the range of 2 percent to 3
percent per year.

The membership decline and the 2008 recession, both of which impacted nondues revenue, put a strain on the organization’s budget. If AAM were to continue operating under the status quo, the association knew, its financial future would be dim. Disruptive change was needed.

Faced with financial facts, AAM embarked on a transformational journey. Among other changes, the organization decided to redesign its membership structure. With nearly 40 percent of its budget potentially impacted, this was a bold move, yet senior leaders and board members alike agreed it was necessary. Says AAM Chief Operating Officer Laura Lott, “We were buying ourselves a future.” Continue reading…

To learn more about Communicating the Alliance’s Major Changes in our case studies.