Could Your Association Survive Without Dues?

That my friends is the million-dollar question. A non-dues association world is now on the radar thanks to a number of disruptive influences including millennial membership and access to free information.

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This reality may come to fruition in just five short years. 

Are you ready?

Many of you are probably saying that a non-dues model will never happen. Never is a long time. Let me paint a picture of why a non-dues reality could take place sooner than you think. 

The Millennial Factor. Millennial attitudes and expectations will be the biggest reason you may have to consider a world without dues. For one, millennials are not joiners. They are not going to join your association unless there is a pretty big value proposition that they can’t get anywhere else. They will seek to get your information and education free online or from their peers. Most of your content is probably available somewhere else and is simply a Google search away. 

The Digital Relevancy Factor. Your membership is now connected to their personal screen. Gen Xer’s, Y’s and Boomers are now fully expecting all information and education that you provide to be available online and be easily consumed on a smartphone. Your information needs be relevant to what’s happening today and more important – the future. Oh, and by the way, your content better be entertaining too.

The Pull of Social Platforms. If you haven’t noticed already, when you send a member to YouTube or Facebook to see your video, you are really sending your member away to find that social platform's own content on your subject matter. Sure, they may watch your video, but at the end, there will be advertisements and suggestions of where they can find even more interesting options on what they should be getting from you - except they may now be taking YouTube's lead - not yours.

All of these add up to the big question.  Why Should They Pay Dues? 

If you want to be ahead of this nasty curve, you will need to develop strategies and content that delivers real value to members. Maybe, you can keep them paying dues for a while, or maybe you should be moving to another model that is not dues-based. This model could be fully supported by non-dues revenue such as pay-per-view, sponsorship, advertising and subscriptions. 

We will be speaking to this and other key disruptive trends in the upcoming Lunch and Learns that Association TV® is hosting on December 6th and 7th in the DC region.


If you can make it, we would love to buy you lunch and share with you what to be aware of that will affect the future of your association.

If you are not in the DC area, why not sign up for a personal demonstration on how Association TV® can help you to be well positioned for these future trends.

 Association TV® is part of WorkerBee.TV

John Heppenstall is Director of Marketing for WorkerBee.TV

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