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This Association Isn't Charging Dues Anymore

Could your association survive without charging dues? One is trying it out as a way to grow its base.


ASBPE, an association that represents business press editors and designers, may have shocked some of its members this week when it announced it would stop collecting membership dues. President Mark Schlack says the Wheaton, IL-based organization never relied on the $100/year fee as a big revenue generator. And ASBPE has enough financial footing to do it. Instead the organization will focus on growing its 350 members, he says. The more members it has participating in webinars and training (areas where it's directed more resources), the better the discussions.


Revenue will draw more heavily from the organization’s annual awards program and its educational programs. Mark says the decision, proposed by its membership committee, was partly inspired by major changes in the business press over the last 20 years. Many news organizations have moved out to the suburbs to save on expenses, making it harder for ASPBE to put on events that draw a lot of people. Now some of the interaction is happening online. The membership has also transitioned to include many more freelance writers and contractors. He says there were some “grim” years financially for ASBPE, but it’s managed to stabilize. 

Related Topics: ASBPE, Mark Schlack, membership dues