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Dues Increases Are Necessary for an Organization's Growth

They are an essential part of an association’s financial life cycle

In 2017, the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) had to go to its members with a big ask: It had been more than five years since the trade association had raised dues, and now it needed to implement a substantial increase. It had convened what it called a “dues remodeling committee” to set new rates, and the board had signed off on the plan. But UTC had to make it palatable to members.

"When you do a dues increase, some type of churn happens, and we want to minimize as much churn as possible," said Karnel Thomas, senior vice president of membership and meetings at UTC. "We didn't want anyone to have sticker shock."

Dues increases are an essential part of an association’s financial life cycle. Experts agree that associations should implement a small increase every year to adjust for inflation, but that rhythm was disrupted by COVID-19, as many organizations suspended increases or forgave dues altogether for members struggling with the pandemic. And associations that had left dues rates untouched for years before COVID-19 found themselves in challenging financial straits.

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