How Many Membership Tiers Should Your Group Offer?

February 4, 2021

By Taryn Hefner

Taryn runs Marketing at Join It and is a lover of all things data! You can frequently find her experimenting in the kitchen, absorbed in a book, or brushing up on her Python coding skills.

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We’ve all experienced the hesitation you feel before making a payment. Prospective members will feel the same way. They should be able to see and evaluate the different membership types that you offer. But, in case they aren’t quite ready, give them an option to join a prospective or free membership tier. This way, you don’t miss anyone that might just need a bit of nudging in the future.

Make it easy for members to join at different levels of commitment. This is what a well-honed membership offering or menu accomplishes. You can attract varying degrees of dedication or interest that acts as a tool for future member engagement.

There are a few different ways to structure your membership options! 

The Trial Member: This one should have a time limit. Consider a limited 30 or 60 days so users can experience the benefits of membership for a while before committing. You may want to restrict access to some of the more interesting benefits in order to encourage users to spring for the paid membership. 

The Free Tier: If you don’t offer a prospective/trial option, consider a free option. Especially for student organizations or associations with budget-conscious members, this can be essential in making sure you can gather as many members as you can without excluding those who are on a budget. 

The Bare Minimum Tier: If you don’t offer a free tier, these are the folks who will likely make up the majority of your user base, and this is a good thing! With this member base makeup, if you lose 5 members at your lowest tier, you’ll take less of a financial hit than if you lose 5 members at your highest tier. Your bare minimum tier should offer the basics of your membership benefits, such as access to event calendars, 

A Middle-of-the-Road Tier: For this tier, you’ll want to find a good balance; some of the frequently requested options, but not the really good stuff! 

The All-Inclusive Tier: For the users that want the full experience, this will likely be the highest tier available. All the content, all the discounts, all the events. 

An Exclusivity Tier: If it makes sense for your organization, you could consider the option of adding an exclusivity tier. A limited number of these memberships can exist for users who really want to amp up their involvement with your organization. You can offer things like access to discussions with the board, monthly leadership luncheons, or any other benefit that makes sense for your association. 

Creating and implementing a membership structure that works for your members and organization might take some time, and don’t be afraid to reevaluate your offerings and change things up if they’re not working! Ask your members how they feel about the tiered structure, research what other similar organizations are doing, and try out some different structures! 

For more information on membership best practices, you can download our free membership best practices guide