Tuesday Buzz: Should You Throw Unemployed Members a Bone?

The pros and cons of giving out-of-work members a discount or even a free year of membership. Also: more on Foursquare's new, risky social media strategy.

You have members who are passionate about your industry, but they’re out of work. What do you do?

Over at the MemberClicks blog, Sarah Hill lays out a series of pros and cons to help you decide whether you should give unemployed members a discount on their dues or even a reprieve from paying them.

The benefits are plentiful—your association could be a big part of a future success story—but the risks are high. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost a year of revenue from someone who’s spinning their wheels.

“Ultimately the decision to offer free dues to unemployed members shouldn’t be made on the spot,” Hill writes. “Take some time to talk to your board, examine your budget and your upcoming events calendar, and even talk with members and colleagues in the field in question.”

Which side do you come down on when it comes to giving unemployed members a break on their dues?

Mayor of Nowhere

Sure, Foursquare got the ball rolling on location-based check-ins all those years ago—and maintains an influential role in the history of social networking because of all that—but is it time for the company to give it up?

It sure is, says the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Maggie McGary, who asserts that Foursquare’s new plan to split its offering into two separate apps is a big risk with little reward for users. The company’s new strategy—leaving the primary app for purposes of checking in at locations and launching Swarm, a new instant-messenger-style application that lets you know where your nearby friends are—appears to be an effort at turning Foursquare’s network into a direct competitor to Yelp, according to McGary. She’s not convinced it’s worth it—and says Foursquare as a whole has jumped the shark.

“I think that Foursquare thinking that they even have a tiny chance of upstaging Yelp in the online reviews category is just a little sad…it’s never going to happen,” she writes. “Why not? As of last December, Foursquare claimed 45 million active users, but usage is dwindling. Yelp claims 120 million active monthly users, and expanding. People used Foursquare, back when they used it, to check in to places.”

On the plus side, the new app strategy takes some negative attention off CEO Dennis Crowley, who recently showed up in the news after his wife wore a fake bib to take part in the Boston Marathon last month.

Other noteworthy Links

Which celeb is your nonprofit spirit animal? Take this interactive quiz from VolunteerMatch and find out.

Here’s a quick shortcut to getting people to respect you a little more, according to LifeHacker: Use your middle initial.

Hey, nonprofits: Your donors want to know if you have a plan for them, according to Network for Good’s Caryn Stein.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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