I Paid My Dues, ASAE

I paid my dues on-line today to continue my membership in ASAE & The Center. No, it’s not cause to alert the media or sound the trumpets. I’ve been doing this steadily since about 1981. Some years, it was paid by my association, a few out of my pocket and of course the last 8 through my association management company (read my own pocket). So what’s the cause for the announcement? Well, I paid on-line as the result of an annual reminder set-up in the finance folder. The announcement is: I didn’t need a 5-step dues billing invoice system to renew.

I routinely pay my professional memberships on the actual month due. I routinely toss-out the reminder notices and delete email notices that come in beginning months ahead because I have it set as an bill payment in my system. I don’t expect ASAE to know that off-hand.  It got me thinking though. Like ASAE, each month here at Mariner we send out scads of renewal notices to members. I have to wonder if my members are like me. Do they have it in their checkbook or monthly bill pay without reminders? I’m sure some are like me. Certainly not all. I’m not suggesting that we throw out dues invoicing, but is there a better way?

Most associations provide members the opportunity to set preferences on a myriad of things. Can we add dues billing to that? What if I could set the option to send me an email with renewal link on the expiration month?Or perhaps let me sync a reminder to my Outlook Task list or Calendar? And then I could even choose the reminder time and hit snooze if I can’t get to it right away but don’t want to forget. Or maybe just a thank you letter with a date reminder and a follow-up after the fact if I forget?

I know I can already hear the naysayers … people will just ignore that. Or will they? Some may, but for those that don’t, you’ve saved the mail and email costs.

And, I might add it wouldn’t leave me feeling a little cold like the generic, pseudo-personalized invoice.

A number of years back at a trade association where I was membership director I did an analysis of our dues payments and found the majority paid the month the dues were due using the first notice sent. So they held on to the first notice, tossing the others, and paid when it was due. We revamped the dues invoicing and saved money without losing members. It’s time to analyze again and I think I’ll start by asking my members …

How do you want to be billed for your dues?