Rules of Engagement: When to Offer Dues Waivers?

In life’s critical moments, consider skipping the invoice.

When a member is faced with a personal or professional transition, does your association offer a helping hand?

John Lingerfelt, senior manager of membership at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, says offering a temporary dues waiver lends a “personal touch” to the member experience that can go a long way toward retention.

AASLD doesn’t have a formal policy on waivers, but Lingerfelt says waiving dues might be the right thing to do in these three scenarios:

1. Career transition. AASLD commonly extends waivers to young members transitioning from college to careers. “It’s up to the association and membership staff to kind of feel it out,” Lingerfelt says. “We grant waivers on a case-by-case basis, especially if it’s an unemployed member.”

2.Family, medical, or military leave. Meanwhile, AASLD’s sister organization, the European Association for the Study of the Liver, extends one year of complimentary membership to those on maternity, paternity, or adoption leave. “In this case, they have a set policy in place, which I think is a fantastic thing,” Lingerfelt says. Other scenarios for dues waivers might include disability, medical leave, or military service.

3.Retirement. A waiver can also be used to celebrate a retirement. At the American College of Surgeons, fellows receive a permanent dues waiver when they turn 71.

(subjug/Getty Images)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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