How does your association account for Next Best Alternatives?

Written by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE

(Image: Adobe Stock)

Excerpt from The Art of Membership: How to Attract, Retain and Cement Member Loyalty (January 2014)

For the low price of $195,000, you could buy one bottle of Château Margaux 2009. Promoted as the world’s most expensive bottle of red wine to ever be retailed, only three bottles are on sale. As part of the offer, you will receive a first-class flight to France to visit Château Margaux, be given a tour of the vineyard and cellar, enjoy dinner with the managing director and take home a 12 liter bottle of wine in an oak case.

Too expensive? How about a nice $18 Château du Retout Haut-Medoc? It may not be as good as the Château Margaux but it is a next best alternative.

Understanding the specific value of your benefits – that is, whether they are low, medium, or high drivers of membership – is only part of the story. You also need to know the next best alternatives.

Are your benefits scarce, or are they widely available? Are there a limited number of alternatives or none at all? If so, the value may be higher, and you can charge more. If the next-best alternative is of equal value (or even slightly lower value), you may need to lower the value you assign to your organization’s benefit – especially as a key driver of membership. You may tell prospective members that discounts on continuing education is a benefit, but it may not be a driver or motivation behind the decision to join if there are alternatives.

This post is an excerpt from The Art of Membership: How to Attract, Retain and Cement Member Loyalty, written by Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, published by ASAE and Jossey-Bass (January 2014).


Posted on February 7, 2014