Recently I learned about some fascinating membership structures and thought I’d share them in case you are considering a change in your membership.
Membership dues only model. Members pay one big lump sum of dues, and then they have access to everything. They can download any or all of the training sessions; they can read the research; they can even attend the conference with just an RSVP.
No membership dues are paid at all model. Members don’t pay dues, but they sign a contract that stipulates they will provide some quantity of content per year. They might choose some combination of speaking at an event, giving training, writing an article, or responding to a benchmarking study, for example. All revenue comes from non-dues a la carte purchases.
Select groups get free(ish) membership model. This may work particularly with younger professionals or students. They don’t pay dues, but membership is not free. By signing up, they agree to volunteer. The association can assign them micro-volunteering opportunities which might be contributing content, or helping out with event organization.
I’m curious to know if these models have an impact on member engagement and if so, which model drives the most member engagement. The membership dues only model offers the most frictionless experience which some members may desire. The work for benefits models could be appealing to members who do not have a lot to spend but who wish to become very involved. My guess is each model could drive engagement depending on what various members need and want.
Amanda Kaiser is a member engagement specialist for the association community. Amanda writes a popular weekly blog at SmoothThePath.net.