One of the first challenges when deciding on registration or membership fees is to make certain that you have research enough others organization fees to make sure you’re not pricing your organization right out of existence.
The second challenge is to provide enough benefit to your members or event participants, so they feel they are supporting a worthwhile organization.
When we were setting up our bylaws the fees were the first obstacle that we undertook with great trepidation. Most of us had participated in many events and festivals to promote our products and all of us belong to multiple organizations that are geared to our interests. With that background we averaged the membership fees that we’ve paid to those organizations bearing in mind what benefits we’ve received.
What kind of benefits and what fees you ask?
1). Most organizations will provide a list of who their members are somewhere on their website or in printed form.
2). Most organizations have a section of their website dedicated to providing links to their members websites, if applicable, and charge an extra fee to be listed there.
3). Organizations that offer festival opportunities have one central location. Often, they are charged a fee to use the location or have large promotional costs associated with the event. The cost to participate in the event can be several hundreds of dollars.
What did we do differently? We decided that, depending on the membership level, we would provide a link on our website to a member’s social media or website at no extra cost. After all, we are trying to promote the artisans/artists who live in Washington County. It doesn’t take forever to set up the links, but it does take time. The person who is loading this information onto ATWC’s website isn’t compensated for doing that work, they do it to add that benefit to members.
Since our signature event is our countywide, self-guided tour “The Trail Map” there is no cost to ATWC associated with the location of this event, since each participant’s location IS the destination. However, and especially for this year’s event, there will be a great deal more cost associated with the promotion than was dedicated last year, as a grassroots effort. There are roadside signs, maps, brochures and both online and print advertising to be bought. Our first Trail Map (which we did as just a heterogeneous group of artisans) we did it on the cheap but not this year! Be are going glossy and professionally created and printed to be disbursed throughout the tri-county region and beyond! Some of last years participants in the countywide event donated to a Giveaway through Manchester Newspaper and by doing so provided ATWC with a generous advertising budget for the self-guided tour this year. For that we are profoundly grateful.
Why ask for donations? There are so many projects that ATWC had planned for and our operating budget is very small right now. We will in the future, be applying for grants but at this point in the year most of the grants have been gobbled up by other very deserving nonprofit groups. We’ll concentrate on those for next year.
For now, we rely on the artisans/artists seeing the benefit of joining our organization and participating in our events, the generous support of the sponsoring community members and the public’s response to our fundraising efforts to help us continue to provide a service to not just support the artisans and artists but to all Washington County residents.