Do you groan when the news reports gas price increases? Or you read about how a recent drought will show itself though the cost of your daily coffee?
As much as we hate to hear about increasing prices, sometimes it is a necessity of business.
Membership organizations can be afraid to raise rates, speculating the change will cause members to abandon the group. However, a price increase can be essential for your association.
Here are some items to think about prior to taking action.
Why Are You Increasing Prices?
Knowing why your association is raising rates is important. And just because it has been five years since the last change isn’t a good enough answer. Increasing revenue may seem like a good response – but it is too superficial.
Have you exhausted every opportunity for cutting costs already?
There may be places within your organization your can shift monies. For example, can you reduce printing and mailing costs within your administrative funds and move the difference to your technology budget for an email service provider?
Pinpoint exactly where within your organization your budget is strained and how more money will ease the strain.
Having a solid reason for increasing prices and being able to articulate how the money will be used is important for justifying the change to leadership and members.
Communicate the Change Well in Advance
The first time members hear about increased rates should not be when they reach for their credit cards to renew. Share the news months before so members aren’t surprised.
Include the upcoming increase in your monthly newsletters and mention it during meetings.
Industry related association dues are often subsidized by your members’ employers, so give them plenty of time to review and approve these expenditures.
Reinforce the Value Members are Receiving
In addition to communicating the price change, take these touch points as an opportunity to reinforce the value members receive. With the availability of information on the internet, just offering an association quarterly magazine isn’t going to cut it.
Are certain events free of charge for members?
Do members have access to special resources on your website?
Does your association provide learning opportunities?
Will members gain leadership skills?
Make sure members are reminded of all the benefits they receive.
There are times when price increases are inevitable for your association. However, by handling the change well your membership organization will not be adversely affected.