Chambers and associations are a vital source of connection, but (just like many other industries) they’ve been forced to find ways to stay relevant in the age of the Internet. It’s become very easy for members to find each other and connect on their own time, use online tools to easily generate leads and market themselves, and access resources to learn more about their industry and how to advocate for it.
While organizational membership is still important, all benefits simply don’t apply to all members anymore: That’s where tiered dues comes in. A tiered dues structure virtually eliminates any loss of membership value, because you’re asking members to invest in a package based on value. Inviting members to have more control over their benefits ensures they will get the value they want out of their membership, which in turn will increase engagement, retention, and overall satisfaction.
I know - it sounds daunting, but the process for implementing a tiered dues structure can be totally painless with a little guidance and planning. And with any change, you’ll want to do some homework. Here are some “assignments” to get you started:
Know the value of what you have
Taking the time to inventory all of your current benefits and assess their value on an individual basis is critical to implementing tiered dues. After all, how are you supposed to determine what package(s) a benefit fits into if you don’t know its value?! Quantifying the value of your benefits just takes a little math and research.
Know your members
Do your members have varied priorities? Complete a member needs assessment to determine what is important to their success and what benefits are truly valuable. By doing so, you’ll start to see patterns that will help you build your packages based on what types of benefits are most valuable to members at various stages of growth.
Consider any anomalies in your membership
That being said, you’re sure to have a few outliers. Smaller businesses and recent graduates may need something low cost to get them in the door, but will want to add benefits and move up in levels as they grow. Pay close attention to the responses you get out of your member needs assessment to see what unique barriers you may have to overcome, and plan for them.
Remember to place value on the intangibles
You know what they say - money can’t buy happiness! Similarly, some benefits to membership don’t have a monetary value attached to them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value. The things that your organization provides that members simply can’t get anywhere else should be reserved for your mid-to high-level packages.
Change is hard, especially when that change is fundamental to your organization. Concentrate on the finish line instead of what it’ll take to get there and just get started - because it’s so worth it to go through the process when you know it’ll benefit both your members and your entire organization!!
While “tiered dues” is something that is more frequently used by chambers, all member-based organizations should consider this strategy. (After all, we are all here to learn from each other on how to better serve members, right?!) If you’re starting to think a tiered dues structure is right for your organization, check out our newest guide, How to Increase Chamber Membership Value by Implementing Tiered Dues, which walks you through the ENTIRE process.