Easy Dues Payment Plan
The membership development committee has been asked to develop a plan of action to increase participation in the Easy Dues program and to market the program changes made by the Society Board at their November 2003 meeting in Racine, WI.
When internalizing this challenge, we felt the best course of action was to target a time line whereby 100% (or as close to 100% as possible) of our organization would become involved in the EasyDues program: thereby making it an actual membership “growth” campaign and not just a financial development program.
A coordinated effort by all of the Society’s functioning committees will be required if this plan of action is to work. Using a top down model, the committee believes upper management’s influence on the decisions of those whom the management body directly supports, is the most efficient approach to this challenge.
To that end, the Membership Development Committee presents the following plan of action for the board’s consideration and stands ready to incorporate any additions or changes the Board feels is needed.
Yours in harmony,
Chairman, Membership Development Committee
The Society has a dues payment plan known as “EasyDues”, which allows a member to provide a credit card and have his dues payments automatically charged on a monthly basis. This eliminates the need for a member to come up with a single large payment ($100-$200, depending on chapter and district dues) in order to renew his Society membership each year. The Society leadership believes that we can increase retention by converting members to this ongoing monthly payment model, in particular by eliminating the “financial renewal” decision (i.e., “since you’re asking me for $150, I now have to decide whether or not to renew for another year”). By turning it into an ongoing monthly expense, for some members, it will eliminate the perception of a financial decision, and will also cut down on the number of suspensions / drop-outs caused by neglect (i.e. “I forgot to pay”).
By year-end 2009, convert 100% of Society members to the EasyDues payment plan.
1) New members: For members joining the Society for the first time, how can we make EasyDues the default payment model?
2) Reinstated members: For members re-joining the Society after a lapse in membership, how can we make EasyDues the default payment model? (We think this defaults to the “new member” problem)
3) Ongoing member renewals: For members who reach their renewal date, how can we quickly convert them to using the EasyDues plan?
1) By year-end 2004, 100% of Membership Development committee members use EasyDues (increase of 5)
2) By year-end 2004, 100% of Society board members and Society staffers (who are also members) use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 50)
3) By year-end 2004, 100% of District Officers and Society Committee members use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 300)
4) By July 3, 2005, 100% of AIC members use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 300)
a) Explore the possibility of including a short musical EasyDues presentation on stage at International in Salt Lake City during the AIC show.
5) By year-end 2005, 100% of Chapter Presidents, Chapter Membership Vice-Presidents, and Chapter Treasurers use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 2400)
6) By year-end 2005, 30% of all new member applications use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 900)
7) By year-end 2005, 100% of certified judges use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 300)
8) By year-end 2006, 100% of chapter officers use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 3000)
9) The 2006 International Chorus Champion has 100% of its membership enrolled in EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 100)
10) By year-end 2006, 75% of all new member applications use EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 2250)
11) By year-end 2006, 35% of all barbershop members enrolled in EasyDues. (Increase of approx. 1595)
12) By year-end 2007, all members of Top Ten International Choruses enrolled in EasyDues. (Increase of approx 800)
13) By year-end 2007, 60% of all barbershop members enrolled in EasyDues. (Approx. 19,000 enrolled)
14) By year-end 2007, 100% of all new member applications use EasyDues. (Approx. 3400)
15) By year-end 2008, 85% of all barbershop members enrolled in EasyDues. (Approx 28,050 enrolled)
16) By year-end 2009, 100% of all barbershop members enrolled in EasyDues. (Approx 34,000 members)
We believe that getting a broad base of participation in the EasyDues program will be easier if done using a “reference sale” model. By first targeting small, easy-to-identify and easy-to-reach communities who, in turn, are significant influencers within the Society. With this approach, we can show relatively immediate progress. This progress can be turned into sales and marketing messages that leverage the positive influence our chapter and Society leaders (both administrative and musical) have on Joe Barbershopper.
In parallel, we need a program converting the “initial signup process” so that it becomes the simple, default choice for new members to enroll via EasyDues.
The core messages should be simple, clear, and easy to understand. We think that we have three straight-forward messages that can be tuned for various audiences:
• It’s EASY
• It’s SECURE / SAFE
• It’s COST-EFFECTIVE
One additional message that can be leveraged after the early successes with chapter and Society leaders is:
• It’s WHAT YOUR LEADERS / HEROES DO (the “be like Mike [Slamka, not Jordan, in this case]” message)
For chapter leaders (presidents, treasurers, membership, etc), there can be messages surrounding the benefits to the chapter:
• It’s EASIER (no need to chase down members to remind them to pay)
• It’s a PREDICTABLE cash flow (monthly, instead of quarterly)
• You RETAIN more members (not hitting them for a big lump sum)
• It removes “sticker shock” for new applicants (joining is easy)
We believe that the path to success lies in targeting specific, influential groups early on, driving to success with them, and using that success to get to the broader base of Society members. Blanket mailings and emails to the whole Society are going to be less effective than messages coming directly from respected musical and local leaders. In many cases, having a chapter’s best quartet (whether that’s an International champ or a District finalist) endorse the program will go further than 20 direct mailings.
It will be critical to make the program easy to sign up for, with no hidden “gotchas”, and to get that message out clearly and often. Chapter newsletters, Reed Sampson’s “Live Wire”, the Harmonizer, District bulletins, and other educational venues (Harmony College, COTS, etc) provide lots of avenues for communication.
Tracking progress will be fundamental. To get to 100% of the Society, we must, by definition, have 100% of officers, judges, musical directors, and such involved. By targeting these groups, we get many benefits:
• These men genuinely care about the future of the Society
• We have email contacts for almost all of them
• They will be receptive to not only “personal” benefit statements, but also the chapter/Society benefit statements as well