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Would you pay $5.00 to be a member of MCC (read first, then answer)

Lots of people have been suggesting that Motor City Connect should charge $5.00 per month for membership. When asked why, the responses have been:

It will make apparent who is serious about being a member

It increases the value of membership

You (well me, Terry) will spend more time focused on it

We can do more good for our community

The potential downside is we go from a group of near 4000 to a group of a hell of a lot less. Arguments have been made that the group is a lot smaller regardless (I am inclined to agree).

I would love to hear from you all on this topic but especially from the people who don’t chime in often.

I look at how the value of this group has increased since we were a small yahoo group and know that with a bit of an income from it, we could do GREAT things for all of our supporting members.

If we did it, the change would go into effect September 1. We would give all members who sign up September-December for $15.00 and you would have the choice if you wanted to do it again in 2010.

Be connected-

Terry Bean

Replies to this Topic

I agree.  Only I would make it $75 and make it a lifetime membership.  I'm all about barriers to entry.  Best way to save yourself time and make sure the time you invest is with serious individuals.

I would certainly be willing to pay the $5.00 a month.  If someone objects to that then they probably are only a member in name only.

Profile Image for Pat W. Pat
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 1:56 PM

I probably wouldn't have joined if there had been a fee from the get go.

It took me a while to decide if and how I wanted to participate in this group, and after a little time lurking I decided it was the best thing since sliced bread or perhaps since "hello, hello"

My suggestion would be to create a free time period so people who are unsure of whether they want to "take on something else" can determine if the group suits their needs.  Take the credit card info up front and if they cancel their account by a predetermined date, no charges.  If they don't then the recurring fee begins.

I think it's a great way to pay for the site and the services you offer Terry, then maybe you can afford to hire some help.  ;-)

BTW, I've been a paying member for some time now because I believe that what MCC does is important to my social life....err... business.  It's well worth the price of admission.

 

Hmm, interesting.  I guess I object to the assumption that free equates to "not serious."  After all, there's a charge for just about everything else - live events, lunches and breakfasts.  So, if someone is "serious" they'll pay to attend those.

Perhaps for many members, it's enough just to participate in the online discussions.  Speaking for myself, I've not been able to attend any lunch or breakfast near me because the days and times offered always conflict with standing client meetings.  That doesn't mean I'm not "serious" about Motor City Connect.

Also, I question why there is a problem with 4,000 members, or more?  I remember a year ago when you were thrilled you broke 1,000 members.  Isn't the purpose of this group to network?  Why establish such limitations?  If the membership number takes a hit, where is the value? 

And, where is the value if it's the same people going to these events over and over?  That makes it more of a closed "club" than an open networking group.

 

Debbie-

We aren’t establishing limitations on the # of people who are in the group. We would be establishing limitations on people who don’t participate.

As a longtime online group leader I understand that there are “lurkers” those who will read and learn, but not ever share. And that’s ok, but we are looking for people who will be active in what we are doing.

Sorry to read that the schedule hasn’t worked out for you. We will be moving our meetings around and hopefully you can attend one that best fits you.

To the rest of you-

Thank you so much for support. Pat, I think there will be a free trial period (obviously anyone who got this note is already getting one since they’re here now).

What is the goal of creating a barrier to entry to MCC?  I joined to get a pulse on the activity in the Detroit area and review topics that are of interest to me.  One of the benefits is I can choose when and if I want to join a discussion or if my input is required.  There are many of us out here in the social media world that are passive members by choice.  No, I would not be willing to pay $5 a month. 

Profile Image for Tina W. Tina
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 2:27 PM

As someone who is unemployed and networks with others who are, I'm less likely to participate or recommend the group if there is any cost.   Every $ counts.

If you only want the group to include people who are currently in jobs, then the cost is fine.

You may end up excluding some who need it most.

I agree with Debbie's post. 

All groups have a working core group and then the members....it is nearly impossible to get everyone to join in.

Many people join for different reasons and at times may not be able to join in.  Every organization needs different people, levels of interest and volunteering availiability.  At times some of the members won't be able to attend or "do", but might be able to in a few months or may have interest in the next event and then contribute greatly. 

Also, with the Detroit area hit so hard with lay-offs....this might eliminate some really good people from joining.

If MCC *has* to charge, then do a nominal fee of something like $20/year.  I like that you are giving a price break of $15/yr for current members.  Can elaborate or go into detail of what great things could be done with the annual fee?

Profile Image for Catherine H. Catherine
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 2:36 PM

I'd support $5 per month.

I have been a member on the website for a few months and just made my first networking event this last week.  It was well worth the time and energy invested and I plan to attend more.  I would be more than willing to pay $5 a month and certainly feel it is in line with a committment to the goals of the organization. 

Perhaps a suggestion, and feel free to shoot it down Terry if it doesn't fit, would be to only allow "paying members" to attend the networking and educational events and make website registration free.  People who register on the website can follow the "goings on" of Motor City Connect and decide if they want to take it to the next level, but can't take full advantage of membership without paying the $5 fee.

Food for thought.  Keep up the good work with the organization and I am sure many will see the value in the $5 and those who do not, it may not be a right fit for.  See you at an upcoming event...

Edited Mon, Jun 29, 2009 2:40 PM

 

I'm in favor of a modest monthly charge of $5.00, I have met many people that have become friends and business associates. I'm especially pleased to see that there are now sub categories so that I can better connect with the members that have business interests similar to what I'm looking for.

For all the members that haven't reached out to the 4,000 other members here's the deal; you can continue to do business the old way and hoping that you will eventually score a deal or you can become active, meet some great people, and grow your business while helping them grow theirs. It's easy to do, make it a goal today to go to the ASK section of the website and read what your fellow members are requesting help with and find someone you can help. You will accomplish two things you will make a new acquaintance and introduce yourself to someone that is there to help you as well. It's not that difficult, so promise yourself that you are going to do this before the end of the day.

Well, that will be just swell...

I used to belong to the Macomb Chamber of Commerce. Their initiation fee of $125.00 and Annual Dues of $250.00 (cira 2002) were bad enough. All the non-support I got for my business was even less than enough if any, unless, of course I would attend $20.00 a crack social meetings and donated hundreds more and for what? My business went no where and my membership ended after that first year.

Now, I find a networking group that was free and maybe could help my business. Hey, there hasn't even been a "hello" or "how are you" from any member of MCC and no hits on my profile. So, now I should pay $5.00 a month ($60.00 a year) and get the same support I am getting from the FREE network?

That is a pathetic idea. Why, because you have 4,000 members with about 75% of them who seem to be in the same boat as me and probably can't affort it anyways.

Great, limit it even more. Who thought this one up and who want's to destroy the group and the good idea it started out as?

One last observation...

Terry, why is it the only name I ever see on these e-mail, is yours? If we have 4,000 members, where are they and why is it that no one else seems to step up to the plate and swing the bat?

I think that $5.00 is a very reasonable fee.  I plan on attending some of your upcoming networking events and hope to derive some business from it, as well as help others grow their businesses as well.

 

Cheryl Carey

Sign me up!  Come on... $5.00 per month to network online and participate in events with a modest charge, seems like a no brainer to me.  I've been to one event (I know, shame on me!) learning about how to create an ASK that really gets people thinking of how to help you.  It was powerful stuff that a chamber membership doesn't offer.  And a heck of a lot less expensive.  $60 per year for a wealth of knowledge that far out reaches a typical chamber membership, I'm in!

I joined MCC as a way to network and connect with people while in transition and searching for a new job.  I have met a lot of great people and attended a lot of great events while "paying as I go".  There is a fee to attend lunches and seminars.  For the most part, those have been very reasonable.  It seems to me there may be two missions for this group:

1.  Networking to expand business contacts and grow business opportunities

2.  Networking for job seekers

I have a feeling those seeking to expand and grow their businesses will have no problem paying a monthly fee, however, you may lose the folks seeking jobs.  I guess you will have to determine if the mission of the group is more geared towards entrepreneurs and less towards the job seekers.

I have to disagree with the fee.  Strongly.

You have 4000+ members.  So what. You've already indicated that you will bounce people who haven't filled out the profile, which is reasonable.  After all, you can't network with just a name.

Also, people already pay a fee to MCC when they attend the meetings.  Paying another fee on top of that seems a bit absurd.

What benefit would a member have to paying a monthly fee?  None that I can see, plus you open yourself up to tracking all this for everyone.  It's more headache than it's worth. 

Profile Image for Jerry B. Jerry
  • Mon, Jun 29, 2009 3:53 PM

I feel that your post about the $5 fee and limiting the size of your group is rather arrogant. It illustrates to me that you're more interested in making a buck off those interested in social networking rather than helping them - nice public service. I didn't join a fraternity in college, and I won't join one now. I'll just wait until August 1 for you and "five-buck Chuck" to kick me off the site. Gotta go now and update my FREE LinkedIn.com profile ... 

This is an online group, so you would always find lurkers. The biggest issue I would find with charging to be part of the group is it could cause worthwhile members not to join. I know you hate hearing about the downsides of Michigan, but there are folks out there that are forced to watch their dollar and $5.00 may be too much for them. Though you may find those same people become very active after joining and even pay for membership after they find a new job.

I think the best thing you could do, granted it would be more work, is give people 30 days from joining to fill out their profile. If they don't do so, you can kick them. You could even promote some veteran members to an admin position to help you with this.

You all ready have the paid membership option, but as you have said. This group is about helping Detroit succeed. Would a mandatory $5.00 membership fee really help the group to help Detroit succeed?

 

 

Although I would support a $5 fee, I think posts by Kelly and Charles have made some solid and valid points...definitely thought provoking.  Thank you for being constructive and not confrontational in the sharing of your opinions.  Last I checked, this discussion was posted to see how people felt about it not notifying members that the policy was going to take effect.

I am surprised at some of the venomous responses.  Let's remember that we are all in this together in Michigan folks.  We are all trying to find new ways to expand our networks and resources and there are a lot of different avenues for us to do so.  Some groups work better than others for some people...what works for you, your personality, the services you offer, etc. may make one group work better for you than it would for me.

I have been involved in many different groups and organizations over the years and I for one am glad that this was put up to discussion instead of sent down the pipeline as this is new policy everyone "like it or not."  Let's try to keep this constructive... 

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