January 10, 2011

Charities Make Plans to Increase Prices of Tickets, Dues, and Other Fees

Over the past three years, the economic downturn prompted museums, zoos, performing- arts organizations, and other nonprofits to hold off from raising their membership dues, admission fees, and ticket prices.

But now many charities are "taking a fine-toothed comb to their program and looking to enhance revenue," says Dana Hines, president of Membership Consultants, a St. Louis company that works with arts and cultural groups. To that end, she says, many groups in recent months have performed audits of their membership and other revenue-producing programs.

Starting this month, some of the Ms. Hines's clients are raising the price of membership and other fees by 5 to 10 percent. "A lot of groups have held off on price increases for the last three years," she says. "Now is the time."

Charities that raise dues and other fees often do so without calling attention to the price increase. "You just remind them what level membership they are at, and say it is time to renew," she says.