Membership Dues Increase? Is Now the Right Time?

Many membership managers are asking or being asked this question.  Is now the right time to raise membership dues?

If you are trying to determine this for your organization, start by asking yourself these questions – the answers will help you make this important decision!

Have you raised your dues in the past three or four years? If the answer is no, then Yes, it is time to raise your dues!  Every organization faces either increasing costs or increasing demand for membership revenues to support the organization.  Raising dues every three to four years is the norm.

Are your dues keeping pace with your competitors? Compare your dues with other organizations both locally and nationally.  Your dues need to be equal to the average of those organizations, at a minimum.   If they are not, then YES, it is time to raise your dues!   By not keeping pace with your organizational peers, you are suggesting that your organization may not be as “worthy” as other organizations.  Be sure you’re offering members adequate value in the membership benefits.  A cost/benefit analysis is the way to do this.

Do you have any dues/categories under $50? If so, YES, it is time to raise your dues!   Low entry level dues probably do not pay for the membership services you are providing.  Do not charge less than what it costs your organization to provide the benefits.  No one should be subsidizing your membership categories – membership exists to support the mission of your organization, not the other way around!

Have the admission rates increased lately? If you answered yes, then it is time to raise your dues.  For visiting organizations, an admission rate increase is also the time for a membership dues increase.  There must be a balance between admission rates and membership rates.  Increasing one without the other creates an imbalance.

Do you have new offerings? If so, say YES to a dues increase!  If your organization offers new benefits, features, exhibitions, services, and/or spaces, then the value of membership has increased and the dues should increase as well.  More benefits equals higher dues!

Many organizations have held their breath and held their dues during the economic downturn.  In most cases, it is time to breathe again and time to raise dues!

If you need help with a dues increase decision, cost/benefit analysis, or communications/implementation plan, contact Membership Consultants at or call us at 314-771-4664.



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