Where We Started:

Dues Category                                                                                                                                                Dues                        #of Votes

Individuals

  • Salaried or fixed (sales, mfg's, reps, pastors, gov offs, ed leaders)                                                          $73                               1
  • Key personnell or Associates of a commercial, industrial, prof. mbr form                                                $73                               1

Semi-Retired & Retired Individuals

  •                                                                                                                                                                   $48                               1

Professional

  • Doc's, Dentists, Lawyers, Funeral Directs, CPA's, Ins & Real Estate combined agencies                      $212                              1
  • Agencies - Realtors only or Insurance only                                                                                              $187                              1
  • Beauty & Barber Shops only, Public Accountants                                                                                    $144                              1

Professional Firms:

  • Fewer than 6 total persons                                                                                                                        $207                             1
  • 6 to 10 total persons                                                                                                                                  $270                             2
  • 11 to 15 total persons                                                                                                                                $393                             2
  • 16 to 25 total persons                                                                                                                                $536                             3
  • 26 & over total persons                                                                                                                              $653                             3

Commercial Business

Retail merchants, auto dealers, dry cleaners, laundry, service stations, light construction,

loan ofcs, sales & service , brokers, wholesalers, clubs with bar and/or restaurant.

  • Fewer than 3 employees (includes the owner)                                                                                          $144                             1
  • 3 to 5 employees                                                                                                                                        $212                             1
  • 6 to 10 employees                                                                                                                                      $346                             2
  • 11 to 25 employees                                                                                                                                    $393                             2
  • over 25 employees                                                                                                                                     $536                             3

Industrial

Manufacturers, News Paper, Heavy Construction

  • Fewer than 6 employees                                                                                                                             $207                            1
  • 6 to 10 employees                                                                                                                                       $281                            2
  • 11 to 50 employees                                                                                                                                     $393                            2
  • 51 to 100 employees                                                                                                                                   $785                            3
  • 101 to 200 employees                                                                                                                              $1,019                            5
  • 200 or more employees                                                                                                                            $1,268                            5

Utilities

  • Electric, Gas, Telephone                                                                                                                             $653                            3

Financial

  • Full Service Banks                                                                                                                                       $785                            3
  • Savings and Loan Associations                                                                                                              $547                            3
  • For each additional bank unit (detached)                                                                                               $144                            1

Institutions

  • Educational (Thiel College)                                                                                                                          $270                           2
  • Hospitals                                                                                                                                                      $653                            3
  • Nursing Homes                                                                                                                                            $270                            2

Contracting Firms

  • Based outside the Greenville area holding Chamber membership in their home base area                        $174                           1

Churches, Volunteer and Charitable Non-Profit Organizations

  •                                                                                                                                                                         $73                           1

Public Administration/Services

  •                                                                                                                                                                         $73                            1

NOTES:Two part time workers (20 hrs or less per wk) will be considered as one employee.

Dues can be paid on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis.

All locations within our service area of Northern Mercer County will be listed


Some of the Problems were:

#1 Categories

Although most of our chamber members would easily fall into one of the 40+ categories, every new member that may not have been accounted for would ultimately lead to the creation of a new category or a failure to accurately place the member in an appropriate spot. 

The list only gets longer and more complicated making attracting new members harder to sell. New members often wonder where we are pulling our dues amount number from. The obscurity of the numbers as well make the process even stranger ($144.59 and not just a round even $150).

#2 Maintenance Of Information

The current due structure requires our office to maintain up-to-date records of the number of employees for many of our businesses. This information is not always easy to retrieve and can be a sore spot if it means moving the company up into a higher paying dues level. The chamber then looks like it is punishing growth rather than rewarding it. This has resulted in some distrust and false reporting of the true number of employees. Does the chamber really increase its services to the company who has more employees? If not, then why the dues increase? 

#3 You're Stuck

Chamber members are placed into the dues amount that we determine. No negotiation and certainly no exceptions. It the past, negotiations were made, quite unfairly, which resulted in the loss of chamber members and a distrust of the dues structure. 

It is often that when we lose a member it is due to financial reasons. The company can no longer justify this expense when they are having a "bad" year in business. What then? There is no other option than for them to lose their membership because they are stuck to the set dues amount we have decided for them.



Our New Direction and The Success of Tiers

Level Upon Level: Exploring the concept of tiered dues structures and how they make a difference in your ability to cultivate new members

By Dawn Moliterno

"By creating clear levels of investment, chamber members better understand and appreciate the value of their investment."
"they can 'upgrade' their involvement..."

Or downgrade should the business have a particularly hard year, but still wish to continue as a member...

"Successes and challenges: Chambers using tiered dues program have reported the following successes. 1. The ability to identify and focus the bulk of benefits and services toward the mass of membership while customizing more economic-oriented programs for the larger size companies. 2. The new structure made it easier for members to understand the benefits and value of membership - became a new language culture that simplifies the message of why they need to belong. 3. Have increased average sales from just over $400 to more than $1,000 in two years. Sales teams love the program because it gives them flexibility and control. New members like it because they are getting more for their investment. 4. Net membership increased by 9.2% in first year of implementation."

Baseline:

The average dues amount from the previous dues structure was $178

This allowed us to develop a "popular" tier - the Business Builder, which provides everything that members were already getting, plus an Annual Dinner Ticket for $200.

It was necessary to create a more affordable tier, so with some fewer items provided, the Business Basic at $100 was developed.

From there, tiers were created that corresponded to some spending and participation trends among our membership.

Lastly, we included an a la carte menu for those members who wanted to add on any items not included in their tier.

Our Tiers