Is Membership Worth It?
In my finance class this morning we’re discussing the value of membership. The majority of institutions lose money on their members. In order to better understand, you have to look at why people become members. Is it because they want the coupon at the door since the cost of a family membership is less expensive than the cost of admission for a family of four, or is it because they want to actually be a part of the institution? In that case, is it better to pull them into donating to your annual fund instead?
One of the models we looked at was the Whitney. Last year, they rolled out a brand spankin’ new membership model:
The thought here is horizontal membership tiers versus vertical tiers. Really, it is more of an a la carte option. Their basic membership package is $85, which lets you choose one of the options. Beyond that, each option is an additional $40. I highly recommend looking at their site to see what each option entails.
At this point, I think it is still too soon to see the impact of this program, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on in upcoming years. Last year, Nina Simon wrote a blog post featuring an interview with their Director of Membership. Do you think this model will be successful, both at the Whitney and possibly at other types of institutions?