Dues on the Rise; Economies Remain Strong

More than half of W.A.C.E.’s members who participated in a recent opinion poll about membership dues reported that they will be raising their dues in 2019, while another 11% responded that they were “Not Sure” if dues will be increased.

The survey also asked members if they raised their dues in 2018. Only 36% of survey participants raised dues in 2018. When looking at those 36% who raised dues in 2018, more than two-thirds confirmed they plan another dues increase in 2019.

According to the data, chambers with the most members are more likely to increase dues. Of chambers with more than 1,000 members, 80% said they would be increasing dues in 2019. In comparison, 60% of chambers with 501–999 members reported a plan to increase dues, while only 43% of chambers with 251–500 members and 32% with fewer than 250 members will implement higher dues.

Conversely, chambers with fewer than 250 members were the most unsure about whether they would raise dues this year. Only 12% of chambers with 251–500 members and 9% of chambers with 501–999 members were unsure about a dues increase.

Percentage of Increase

The percentage of increase in dues among the chambers varied, but the most common response was a “3% increase.” Slightly more than one-third selected “3%,” while another 21% said they would implement a 5% increase in dues.

“We actually saw a significant percent of chambers in the two categories under 500 members reporting a 10% or greater increase,” said W.A.C.E. Vice President Russell Lahodny. “Some chambers contacted us to let us know that the increase was tied to a new program the chamber is offering. For many small chambers, they raise their dues less frequently, but when they do, it’s a larger increase than bigger chambers.”

Economy, Environment

Chambers participating in this year’s opinion poll were asked about the state of their local economy. More than two-thirds of chambers overall said their local economy was either significantly stronger or somewhat stronger. Only 7% of respondents reported a somewhat weaker economy.

When it comes to the environment for business in the community, 57% reported having a business-friendly environment. Only 11% of chambers reported having a hostile business environment in their community. Thirty-two percent claimed their local business environment was neither hostile nor friendly.

“Though it is a self-assessment, I think it is encouraging to see more than half of the chambers have a business-friendly environment,” Lahodny said. “It’s a testament to the work chambers do each day to make our communities thrive.”