Knowledge Center FAQs: Explaining Dues Increases

Resources to help you effectively communicate dues increases to your members.

Q: How can I determine and effectively communicate dues increases?

A: Dues make up about 38 percent of a typical association's revenue, according to the 2008 Operating Ratio Report. There are several factors to consider when implementing a dues increase, including the effect it will have on your association. The following resources offer excellent advice on how to determine when to increase dues and how to communicate it to members.

"Communicating a Change in Dues Structure," by Stephen C. Carey, CAE (Association Management, May 2005), outlines some steps to take when introducing a new dues program. Communicate early and often during the process, using a variety of communication methods and an equitable measurement for the base of dues.

"The Lowdown on Raising Dues," by Tony Rossell (Membership Developments, March 2008), identifies five key practices in raising dues, according to a Marketing General, Inc., survey. Results showed the majority of associations raise dues on an as-needed basis, between one percent and 10 percent. Association executives justified the cost of raising dues to an increase in inflation. If the increase was more than 11 percent, programs or services were added to justify the increase in dues.

Most announced an increase in dues through letters, emails, or renewal letters. Results showed membership and revenue increase when dues were increased no more than 20 percent but declined when dues were increased more than 20 percent.