Membership Dues for Chapters

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As local ACBS chapters begin to mature, the question of whether or not collect membership dues often arises.

First, it should be noted that in order to become a chapter member, individuals must first be a member of ACBS.  Therefore, the membership dues that we are referring to here are related to additional dues that a chapter may choose to collect.

Second, at the current time, most chapters do not charge for dues.  

The biggest advantage to charging for chapter dues is to increase revenue and consequently allow for increased chapter activity.  With additional revenue, chapters may be able to host more events, social gatherings, and training or research opportunities that they may otherwise be unable to finance.  Another advantage is that charging membership may enhance value and condense membership to a smaller, but also more active and engaged group of members.

However, there are several disadvantages to charging for dues.  Perhaps most obviously, charging for dues may discourage individuals from becoming more active in the CBS community on a local level.  If a chapter is new or has not demonstrated capability in offering advantages to membership, such as the ability to organize events or attract speakers, individuals may feel that there not enough incentive to pay for chapter membership.  Another issue to consider is simply the administrative workload in charging and maintaing membership.  While certain platforms (i.e. websites such as www.wildapricot.com) may facilitate the management of membership, this will require a certain degree of oversight that board members may be unable to adequately provide.

While it is up to each chapter board to decide for themselves, it is recommended that chapters consider both the pros and cons before charging for membership fees.  For example, a chapter may decide to wait until they are able to offer regularly attended events, such as speakers or study groups, that are already generating some revenue. Then, chapter dues may include a reduced fee to attend such events.