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Pros and Cons: Memberships

Some organizations offer both individual and corporate memberships. In return for paying dues to the organization, these members receive benefits.


  • Membership dues provide immediate and unrestricted funds.
  • Memberships serve as a predictable and ongoing funding base.
  • Memberships give people a way to have an intimate, ongoing relationship with your organization.


  • Not every organization's charter allows memberships. You may have to retain an attorney to make the appropriate governance changes.
  • You must give people membership benefits in return for their dues.
  • Members may want a higher decision-making role in your organization than you want to provide.


  • Reinforce members' pride of association by stressing their commonalities.
  • Be sure your membership fee is reasonably priced for the marketplace. You may need to do a market survey to discover the best fee. (See step 3 .)
  • To be properly responsive to your members, it's best to have sophisticated computer technology.
  • Provide members with an easy mechanism (toll-free number, postage-paid envelope, fax line, etc.) to give you input about their concerns.




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