Tiered dues was recently a topic of conversation in our Chamber Professionals Group on Facebook.
I have seen many chambers go from fair share (membership dues based on number of employees) to a tiered dues structure (dues based on level of service) successfully.
I have also seen one (in particular) that did it unsuccessfully (and suffered for it). This is what I’ve learned from interviewing experts and viewing the collective successes and failures:
When you are going to convert to tiered dues, you have to do this thoughtfully and strategically. You need:
- Very strong buy-in from your board;
- Pre buy-in from several of the big members that are going to be paying the higher dues;
- A tiered dues expert (such as Kyle Sexton or Cathi Hight); and
- Quick implementation schedule (dependent upon the expert’s strategy and suggestions). Do not drag this out year after year. Depending on the size of your chamber, you should be able to do this within a year or two.
Tiered Dues: Risky and Rewarding for Chambers
Yes, the conversion can be one of the riskiest things you do as a chamber but it’s also one of the most beneficial. Tiered dues can significantly increase your revenue but that’s not why you convert to a tiered dues structure. Don’t do tiered dues for the money. That’s merely a pleasant added benefit.
Tiered Dues Equals More Value for Members
You undertake a conversion to tiered dues to provide more value to the members, offering a dues structure that takes into account things that they specifically want. Yes, you will probably make more money but more importantly, your membership’s happier and more satisfied because they are getting the level of services they want without regard to their employee count.
Tiered dues must be done correctly. This isn’t the sort of project where it’s best to learn on the job. Get advice. Consult an expert.
Here is an hour long interview with Kyle Sexton on Tiered Dues implementation from a recent Chamber Focus Show episode.