In WebLink’s twenty years of providing association management software, we’ve noticed one trend continue to grow stronger and stronger: more organizations are starting to use a benefits-driven membership dues system.
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle these days. The “Information Age” has made anything and everything available at our fingertips. Associations must be able to clearly differentiate themselves from what other resources offer. Prospective members are now looking for choice and flexibility, and a benefits-driven dues structure will achieve just that. If your organization is considering making the switch, consider our steps for a smooth transition.
Start by making a list of all free/included benefits of membership – every single one, even the ones that seem standard or like they may be hard to quantify. Then, add the extra benefits that are typically offered to higher level members or as an a la carte option. And THEN, add even more! Use this as an opportunity to brainstorm the additional benefit options that your association could offer.
Assigning a monetary value to your benefits will help you determine where they fit into your packages. Next to each benefit, write down its “retail value”. This can be most easily achieved in one of two ways, the first of which being to simply estimate how much it would cost to purchase that benefit elsewhere.
Some benefits aren’t as easily outright purchased, however. For those benefits, assign a reasonable dollar amount to a “sale” that the member gains from the benefit, and multiply it by the quantity of sales the member can expect to gain. For example:
Identify which benefits should be made available to which levels of members. Group benefits based on areas of interest, such as networking and advertising opportunities. Items costing little time and resources for association staff should be available to everyone – then, consider each remaining benefit’s dollar value and availability when assigning them to a package.
Change is hard. Members might be confused or frustrated over the structure of their dues and benefits changing, but done correctly they will see the obvious upsides. Draft a communication that can be published in multiple places (email, newsletter, etc.) so that members are sure to receive and take in the information. Introduce the new structure with a brief summary of the change, and an explanation for why the change was made. First and foremost, this communication should be about the members, and explaining the “why” will help them understand that your association has their best interest at heart. Give examples of how the change will benefit all members across all levels. Discuss next steps and what they can expect in this transitional time. And of course, don’t’ forget to direct members to where they can see the new packages!
This is the part that gets tricky, and that often deters associations from embarking on the benefits-driven journey. That’s where we come in. WebLink has created a brand new feature for its all-in-one association management software, specifically designed to help associations more easily manage their members’ benefits. This feature eliminates common benefits management issues, such as tracking and renewing what each member has, applying and changing those benefits across your membership (both in bulk and individually), and allowing members to use their benefits in place of payment.