A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked if the group thought it was wise to announce an increase in chamber dues to their membership.
In her experience these sorts of things always ended badly with angry comments, non-renewals, and a general stink. But she wondered if the board president might know something she didn’t since he was insistent a letter needed to be drafted.
No. Announcing an Increase in Chamber Dues is Detrimental to your Organization
Chambers are businesses.
When was the last time your gas station sent out a letter telling you they were raising prices? You’ll wake up one day and it’s going to cost you $.20 more per gallon. No warning. No communication. Just a few new numbers on a billboard.
Some would argue that membership organizations are different than businesses who sell products and services, and in many ways they are. But they’re the same when it means covering costs. When costs increase, prices must as well.
There’s never a good time.
I love Amazon Prime but when they posted that they were raising prices for the first time in several years, I got angry. Yes, I know costs had gone up and I understood they hadn’t raised prices in a long time. But it didn’t matter. I saw more money coming out of my pocket and that never makes me happy.
No one cares about your costs. They care about their value.
To continue my Amazon story, I was about to cancel when they contracted with HBO and brought on a number of new shows I could watch for free with my membership. For a girl without cable, I lapped up this added value and kept my Prime subscription. Had this not happened I probably would’ve canceled it.
Were these new shows that important? Not really. I don’t watch much TV, but the idea behind them bringing on new content, giving me more, balanced out the bitter pill of a price increase that I didn’t want to swallow.
A letter means you’re starting out in a penitent position.
The other reason letters anger people is the tone that’s taken. It’s either one of apology (a weak position for a business) or one of annoyance and justification (we haven’t raised them for years). Neither is very palatable to the member.
If you don’t tell members there’s a good chance some won’t realize it. Those who do will understand it’s just a part of doing business.
Just more value.
Guest post by Christina Green