In 2017, the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) made the strategic decision to evaluate opportunities to optimize the organization’s dues structure based on findings from an extensive member needs assessment McKinley Advisors had recently completed.
Findings from the assessment had equipped UTC with a new understanding of its members and the value they received from membership. Not only did the assessment confirm UTC’s strong value proposition and the high-value to cost of membership, but it also revealed an opportunity to reassess membership dues and consider a model restructure. UTC moved forward with the process with two goals in mind: Guaranteeing the equitability of the dues model and ensuring long-term sustainability of the association.
McKinley partnered closely with UTC, coordinating with a project manager within the organization to serve as a point of contact, while also working with an established Dues Committee for strategic input throughout the project. The Committee took ownership of the restructuring, helping to refine model options and developing strategies for effective member communications and change management based on their intimate knowledge of UTC.
This internal engagement was an important part of the process. Having designated insiders built a more effective strategy to promote acceptance than the traditional approach of engaging a consultant to present recommendations to UTC’s leadership.
In addition to the member needs assessment, the project consisted of three phases before arriving at the final recommendations that were presented to the Board of Directors:
- The development of several preliminary model options for the Committee to review and refine
- Financial modeling and forecasting to assess the potential impacts of the model options on UTC’s membership revenue
- Market testing interviews to validate the proposed changes and inform subsequent communications planning
Once the phases were completed, McKinley and UTC reached a consensus on a new dues structure to present to the Board for approval.
The new dues model was unanimously passed for approval in May, demonstrating the vital role of involving a working group like the Dues Committee in the process to gain buy-in and acceptance. McKinley and UTC successfully developed a more equitable dues structure that addressed several challenges and established a sustainable model for future growth. Because the model was designed to capitalize on organic industry growth, projections predict sustained annual increases following the first year of implementation.
In addition to UTC’s improved dues model, the organization now has a process in place for reassessing and implementing modest dues increases as needed. By formalizing a process for consistent evaluation, associations like UTC not only ensure they are meeting member needs but that their dues structures are in line with their overarching value throughout organizational shifts and market changes.