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Dues & such

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Thought it might be helpful to have a discussion about dues and how clubs approach this.

When I was president of our club - we had a very specific discussion about dues & membership.  Were dues just for the person?  What about family memberships, etc.  At the time - we decided that the dues covered the entire family (living in the same household).  No difference in price.  One of the key driving forces was to make it easier for members to stay members!  By making spouses welcome and comfortable, we limited the conflicts between the spouses that often ended with someone having to limit their club time (and maybe drop out).  Spouses come to meetings (and often provide a lot of volunteer support).  They also end up getting involved in other ways - usually first as stewards, learning to judge (and eventually, some end up brewing, too).  They won't come to every meeting (maybe not the super technical ones) - but they do come to meetings and contribute.

We just revisited this decision last month - and decided it was still the right decision for our club.

I think it would be interesting to hear about other points of view on this.  This is right for our club, but not necessarily others.  Thoughts (and rationale - that helps others understand the questions involved, too!).

Hi Roxanne, if we had unlimited meeting space, we would certainly invite spouses to come to the meetings at all times. I guess it could be debated if an accompanying spouse needs to be an official member or not, but at one time we offered a 50% discount for a spouse because we knew they would on average only attend about half the functions. We got to thinking that if a spouse was serious enough to brew and enter comps as singles, etc, they would just get their own membership.

It became a moot point when we ran out of space in the meeting venue. We don't mind when someone brings a guest once in a while and we always invite members to have family/spouse come out to the bigger social events.

We need to re-look this issue as well.

I suspect we may split the difference and go $30/$45.
After all, the AHA has individual and family and Full Conference and Social Pkg for that matter.

We may also offer $10 off if they renew in December of 2011 for 2012. Money today, right.

Which brings up another dues topic... time frame.

I'm assuming our club, like many others that I have heard, does Jan - Dec pricing to keep things simple.
I understand that some clubs pro-rate, that's some thing we don't do for a couple reasons.

1) It requires some actual book keeping.
2) Our biggest event is Oktoberfest. There is no way we'd let you become a $10 member for that.

The biggest problem that we've had is flatting our revenue curve.
This is our historical dues collection curve:

* We get an initial surge in numbers for Dec for the next year.
* It Drops off until we get a small bump for Springfest (mostly guilt related)
* Next the Summer swoon
* Finally the upsurge for OFest and the drop to nothing
All things being equal (total members gained through out the year), I'd rather have this:

We approach the more ideal curve by requiring members be in good standing for some events, but really the best of all situations is to have anniversary renewals. The devil in that detail is managing 500 individual anniversaries.

There really isn't anyway to do that without some serious membership management automation. This is a topic I will post in it's own thread at some point. We've basically gone barcoded membership discount cards for attendance. We have yet to do the individual billing dates.

Our dues cover the family and we encourage our members to bring their spouse, just not the little ones... Our club meetings are pretty informal and it's more of a social gathering than anything. It's quite enjoyable actually. Most meetings are hosted by club members @ their homes. We generally have ~25 attend so space isn't an issue really. Cheers!!!

Jimmy K:
For the past 18 months we've been charging by the meeting, $1 per person. This allows someone who rarely makes it to meetings to be able to show up to a few and not have to pay the whole year's dues.


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