Developing a Long-Term Membership Dues Strategy for the ADA

Developing a Long-Term Membership Dues Strategy for the ADA
American Dental Association logo on a green background


The American Dental Association (ADA) represents dentistry in the U.S. with more than 157,000 member dentists and 18,000 dental student members. While it enjoys strong market share, the association’s practice of addressing membership on a category-by-category and rate-by-rate basis had created a complex structure, with 11 different categories and 28 different rates. The ADA sought assistance in developing a systematic and strategic approach to membership categorization and pricing.

In fall 2012, the ADA retained McKinley to conduct dependable research to understand members’ pricing tolerances around dues, associated value for different membership offerings and drivers of satisfaction with the association. The data was segmented according to different key audiences along the dental practice continuum, including students, new professionals, active practicing dentists and life members.


McKinley’s recent recommendations on a preferred new dues structure included pricing approaches, guidelines and a methodology for setting and managing dues over the long term and recommendations for future revenue sources for the ADA to consider.