While industry association membership is a non-negotiable for some sectors and senior staff, for others, and often those in more junior positions, it can be a self-funded expense that stretches the budget.
And this is a shame, because people at the beginning of their careers have so much to gain from industry association membership—they’re usually keen to network, access professional development and get ahead.
But for these self-funded and often younger members who are yet to reach their earning potential, membership fees that need to be paid upfront can be prohibitive. To be honest, this can be the case wherever you’re at in your career if the lump-sum fee is significant.
So what can associations do to make it more affordable for new members to join and existing members to stay on?
Providing a direct debit billing or subscription option can be the key. It can make it more feasible for an association to bring early career members into the fold sooner, and to build an ongoing relationship with them. It can also make it easier for existing members to continue their membership, because their monthly payments are smaller, regular, budgeted for and more affordable than a lump sum.
Benefits for associations
Using a direct debit billing model such as PaySmart has major benefits for associations and administrative staff.
- For starters, your Secretariat will no longer have to process and chase down overdue payments—you can leave that to PaySmart! This relieves your staff or volunteers of these admin tasks and steers their time and energies into the project work that matters most.
- Direct debit billing can also positively impact your association’s cash flow. It can deliver regular income to the association throughout the year, which aids in cash flow budgeting, but it can also boost membership numbers and retention as payments become more affordable over a longer period of time.
- Associations can also use direct debit billing as a way to make participation in association activities easier and more affordable.
- For example, attendance at trade shows, conferences, awards dinners or professional development programs can sometimes be difficult to manage because of cost. But what if you offered members the opportunity to pay these expenses off in smaller portions via direct debit in the lead up to the activity? Food for thought…
Speaking of conferences, PaySmart is looking forward to attending the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) Conference and Exhibition (ACE) in Sydney in May. Please drop by to see us there and to find out more about how PaySmart can help boost your member recruitment and retention, as well as your cash flow!