More Dues Increase Findings

I wanted to share a few more items related to the dues increase survey research that we conducted this fall.

First let’s take a look at how associations justify raising dues to their members?

  • 54% of associations indicate keeping up with inflation is the justification used to support the dues increase.

  • 48% report that the addition of new programs or services is the justification used to support the increase.

  • Close to one-quarter mention increasing advocacy as justification for an increase in dues.

Directionally, the proportion of associations offering inflation as justification for a dues increase decreases as the percentage of the dues increase grows. However, associations citing the additions of new programs and services are significantly more likely to raise dues 11% to 20% and to have provided a special offer as an incentive to renew.

Next, let’s look at how the dues increase announced to members?

  • 44% of associations have announced their most recent dues increase through a letter or e-mail to the association and/or through a letter in the renewal notice.

  • 40% of associations announced the increase through an article in the association newsletter or publication.

  • If the announcement was made via some form of written communication, associations are significantly more likely to provide a special offer for joining/renewing.

Finally, here is how associations handled the timing of the dues increase and notification of members.

  • About one-half of the associations made the dues increase known to the membership within three months of it taking effect.

  • 30% of associations announced the change in dues four to six months before it was implemented.

  • Only about 10% of associations made members aware of the increase a minimum of six months ahead of time.

  • Associations planning to raise dues by 21% to 30% are more likely to announce this increase much further in advance.

  • Only about 16% of associations provided some type of special offer to lessen the impact of the dues increase. Those who offered an incentive were significantly more likely to be implementing a dues increase of 11% to 20%.

My goal in conducting this research was to provide associations with a benchmark to consider when raising dues. Clearly, every association is different and needs to consider the environmental and political factors that they face. I hope you find this information helpful if you are considering a dues increase.

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