Maddie Grant continues the debate on membership pricing models in her posting More on Free is the Future with a strong 'yes' to Scott Oser's question "Would mission be as important if anyone could join just by signing up for free" posed in response to Maddie's other posting on the subject (see a pattern here?). (For those who want to read more check out Jason Della Rocca's posting on Acronym.)
In citing her reasons for a yes, Maddie says "I think that associations need to understand that their value more and more will lie in the community they provide - either cause-related, advocacy-related, profession-related, or just 'like-minded people'-related." I absolutely agree that what we're selling is community and the absence of community is what makes the other items (discounts, magazines, resources libraries, training.....) seem unimportant. All those items are readily available and now they are available often in self-formed communities that offer high-tech interfaces. As we look at community as the heart, and we're looking at how to open the gates to many, I'm wondering where chapters fit into the equation. Can they be a critical part in the solution? They are inherently self-formed groups who build relationships. Take the membership dues out of the equation and will more look at the local connection and perhaps see a greater connection then to the national network? What are we doing to help our constituents see the community right before their eyes?