by Callie Walker
How many people do you know who’ve cut the cord on cable? Maybe you’re one of those people. You got tired of paying for channels you never watched, and so you dropped cable for Netflix. (Or Hulu. Or both.)
The point is, you didn’t want to pay for things you weren’t using. Many people feel this way, and many MORE people (more than ever before, at least) are starting to act upon it.
What does that mean for your organization? Well, just as people don’t want to pay for channels they don’t watch, they also don’t want to pay for member benefits they won’t use. They want somewhat of a “custom membership,” and that’s where membership levels (or tiered dues) come into play.
By having membership levels in place, you’re giving people options. Higher membership dues mean more member benefits.
But if we introduce membership levels, won’t everyone just opt for the cheapest option?
This is a question we hear a LOT. But the answer, fortunately, is no. As long as you price your membership levels accurately and successfully communicate the value within each level, you should have interest in all available options. It’s really just a matter of marketing them.
Pricing tip: We know this is easier said than done, but don’t undervalue your services! If you’re at a total loss for where to begin, do some research and see how similar organizations have structured their membership models. And talk to your members about what they value most and would most like to see!
Let’s say right now you really just have a standard membership option. If you were to introduce membership levels, what types of benefits would you include in the higher levels?
Well, this depends entirely on your specific organization and your members’ interests and needs, but below are a few ideas to at least get you thinking:
- Invitations to exclusive events (virtual and/or in-person)
- Preferred seating at events (whenever you start to host more in-person events again)
- Eligibility for a nomination to the Board of Directors
- Complimentary tickets and/or guest passes for events (virtual and/or in-person)
- “Proud Member” plaque or online badge
- (For chambers of commerce) Ability to post “Hot Deals” on chamber website
- Free subscription to your publication(s) (if you currently charge)
If you’re concerned about creating membership levels at your organization, the good news is, with the right technology in place, it’s actually quite easy to implement. The hardest part is just determining what each level will look like (and pricing your benefits accurately).