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Updating NCDD’s Membership Structure

I wanted to announce some exciting changes the NCDD Board recently decided on for our membership structure.  I think these are sound decisions that retain NCDD’s principles of inclusion and accessibility while ensuring that dues can help NCDD be more fiscally sustainable.

Here’s an outline of the changes:

1.  We’re moving away from identifying people as “dues-paying members” and “non-dues-paying members.”  If you aren’t paying dues (which are optional, after all), we’ll simply call you a “Member” of NCDD (imagine that!).  However, if you do pay the $50 annual membership dues, you will henceforth be known as a “Supporting Member” (and we’ll identify you as such when we mention you on the blog and elsewhere).  Not only is this language less awkward, it provides some recognition for those who choose to contribute dues without calling out those who don’t or can’t pay dues.

2.  Since a number of our members have indicated that they would happily pay dues if they were more than $50, we’re adding a membership type called “Sustaining Member,” a title we’ll use to refer to members who pay dues in the amount of $125/year.  I hope many of you will decide to become Sustaining Members!  These are difficult times and we could really use your increased support.

3.  Our dues for Organizational Members is increasing from $100 to $150.  Again, we’ve heard from many organizational members that they would be happy to support the Coalition by paying dues at a higher level.  If you are an organizational member and $150 is a hardship when your dues come due, you may of course choose to convert to one or two individual memberships at the $50 Supporting Member level.

4.  And we’re finally introducing a Student Membership level at $25.  We have always welcomed students to join as non-dues-paying members if the $50 dues were out of their range, but now students will be able to support the Coalition at an affordable level and be eligible for all the discounts dues-paying members receive.

That’s it for the changes!  In a nutshell, here are the membership types we’re launching:

  • Member:  non-dues
  • Student member: $25 annual dues (new level)
  • Supporting member: $50 annual dues (formerly “dues-paying member”)
  • Sustaining member: $125 annual dues (new level)
  • Organizational member: $150 annual dues (up from $100)

To check on what your membership type is now, look yourself up in the NCDD member network at www.thataway.org/ncddnet (if you’re not listed there, you need to join!). You can also email NCDD office manager Joy Garman at joy@thataway.org if you have questions or want to upgrade/update your dues.

Feel free to add a comment and share what you think of these changes.  We’re also working on developing new language to hopefully inspire more members to pay dues, so please share your advice on that — and feel free to send us a short quote we can use!

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. Lois cole says:

    Inclusion breeds entitlement. What is the point of giving away your services to a possible audience of people that are already or encouraging others to become “entitled”.

    If you can be a member (no dues) why would you want to be a student member for a $25 dues??

    I think every category should have a fee/membership dues. Before that, maybe you want a “visiting guest” category or a “trial membership” for six months.

    I previously joined/paid dues and supported a conference/paid alot (conf fee, hotel, airfare, rental car, food, ). I may want to do so again in the future and therefore be paying dues.

    • Hi, Lois! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Could you say more about what you mean by “inclusion breeds entitlement”? I guess you’re saying that the more NCDD includes people regardless of whether or not they pay dues, the more people will expect in return for their membership (even if it’s free)?

  2. Josephine Cooper says:

    I think the new membership and dues structure is a very practical, financial decision; and that you have made a compassionate effort to make inclusion a factor (if not a priority). I believe that it is responsible to consider the survival of the organization from a financial standpoint. I certainly want the organization to survive and thrive. If this new dues structure does that, then, Hooray! I live on a fairly low fixed income and I paid dues voluntarily for that reason. I believe a membership fee is a good way to support the organizations I feel are doing good work and I reap the benefits of their existence. Its a simple “Equation of Reciprocation” model that I try to follow. Some organizations offer a senior or retired person membership; but you’ve really taken care of that by allowing the option of being a non-paying member.

    • Thank you so much for paying membership dues even though it may be a hardship for you, Josephine! This is exactly what we want; more members like you who pay dues because they value what we’re doing and want to help.

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