In the UK today, there are more than 151,000 sports clubs, each with an average of 141 members.
If you run a club that’s struggling to stand out in this crowd, one big thought you might be having is how your membership dues measure up to other clubs.
Setting club fees is a tricky process. Set them too high and you’ll lose members. Set them too low and your club won’t be able to offer the perks necessary to keep members around.
If you’re struggling to price your membership dues, keep reading to learn 7 tips you need to know.
1. Don’t Aim to Profit From Dues
Before you can start determining exactly what your membership fees should be, it’s important, to be honest about how much your club truly needs to operate.
Having extra money in your club’s account is great.
It allows you to plan ahead for times when membership may be down. It gives you the opportunity to host fun events for your members. You might even use it to reinvest in your club, either by buying property or improving your infrastructure.
But if your goal is constantly to fill your membership’s trough, you may be tempted to increase your dues as member enrolment drops in order to make up the difference.
This becomes a vicious cycle of raising member dues and seeing even lower enrolment numbers, causing you to simply increase your dues again. This can not only lead you to see far fewer new members joining, but also cause your current members to rethink whether they truly want to be a part of a failing club.
Never increase membership dues when enrolment is low with the aim of turning a profit. If your club is growing rapidly, you can certainly start with small price increases to start earning some extra money for your club.
But space them out and watch the effect they may have on enrolment to ensure you don’t end up hurting your club in the long run.
2. Determine What the Least You Can Operate On Is
Now that you know that profit should take a backseat when enrolment is dropping or down, it’s time to figure out what should determine your costs instead.
When you’re trying to bolster enrolment, you might consider dropping your fees as low as possible. However, you need to make sure that your group dues are still enough to cover your club’s costs.
Break down exactly what your club needs in order to operate. If you meet in person, you need enough money to rent your space, pay for electric, etc. If you run a website, you need to be able to pay your hosting fees.
While you may be able to cut back on some of these costs, but you likely won’t be able to or want to, eliminate them completely.
Operating on less can also leave your club on shaky ground when members don’t pay on time. Use club management software to ensure you can track done non-paying members fast to make sure their missing dues don’t hurt your bottom line.
3. Weigh the Cons of Lower Membership
There’s a fine line between club dues that are only enough to operate at the lowest level and those that give you room to host fun events and activities for your members.
With fewer members, your individual fees will have to go up, but those members are more likely to be dedicated and passionate. They may not mind paying more because they are invested in the club. They’ll attend meetings and events, and rise to the call whenever your club has something going on.
With more members, you can charge lower fees. But you’ll likely lose some of that level of dedication. Members may join because they see those lower dues as a deal. They’ll be less invested financially, which might translate to skipping meetings or showing less interest in the club.
4. Only Raise Dues if You Can Raise Value
There are a number of reasons to raise your group membership dues.
Maybe your costs have increased, requiring you to do so. Or you want to increase dues so that you can do more within your club.
Either way, before you jack up that number, it’s important to make sure you can demonstrate to new and old members alike why the fees are increasing.
Showing members the value of a price increase will make them more receptive to it. Raise fees without an explanation and you’ll likely get some upset members.
5. Look for Alternative Income Sources
If you’re struggling with raising your dues but still want to make more money for your club, it’s time to look for alternative sources of income.
Depending on your club, this could include fundraisers, selling merchandise, or even hosting parties and events with a gate fee.
These ideas can help you fill the pot without losing members or scaring away new enrolments.
6. Offer Deals on Long-term Membership
Your dues are important. But so is member retention.
If you can afford to, offering deals on longer periods of membership can help you keep people around for longer, increasing the likelihood that they’ll become loyal, lifelong members.
If you charge dues monthly, offer a deal if members pay for 6 months or a year in advance. If you charge dues yearly, offer a discount on multi-year payments.
You’ll get money that your club needs right away, and then can use that to grow your club in the future while also keeping those loyal members around.
7. Give Old Members Incentive to Return
Another great reason to offer a discount or deal on membership is to invite former members to come back at a reduced price.
Members leave clubs for a number of reasons. Whether the dues were a factor or not, offering a lower price is a great way to entice them to change their minds.
Setting Your Membership Dues
Setting the membership dues for your club can be a confusing process. It’s also one that might take a while to get right.
If you set your dues and don’t see the enrolment you’d like, it may be time to take action.
Check out these tips to learn how you can use club management software to boost your enrolment without dropping your dues.