Membership dilemma -Companies not paying the correct dues level.

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10/10/2013

Trade associations regularly face members not paying the published, board approved due amount.

To avoid the challenge it is important to set conditions when the company joins, not years later.  Once the legacy relationship has been established, it is extremely difficult to get the organization to increase dues to the recommended level.
Below are some thoughts on how to naviage the situation:
1. Maintain written communication during the recruitment process that the joining company is not paying the board approved level.  If company contacts change there is a record of the dialogue and recognition the dues level is below the standard.
2. Propose a three step agreement for the company with a tiered investment schedule.  For example, 33% year one, 66% year two, and 100% in year three is reasonable for any serious company.  Put the recommendations in writing to the prospect.  The strength of this tactic is the offset of reduced revenue is the gain of a three year commitment.  If the prospect balks, then you might have more value clarification to deliver.  They aren’t “all in.”
3. Don’t publish this offering as a marketing offer or incentive to join.  Use the tactic rarely, because member discounts are a long term poor strategy. Your organization may gain price shoppers, not a fully engaged new member.  Secondly, if prospects know the occasional member discount is a regular offering, they will just wait you out.
Finally, the member discount begins to put your entire organization in a “one down,” weak business development position.  Not the place to be.

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