Membership Dues Changes Bring Additional Value to Members

For the first time since 2006, IIAR has made changes to its membership structure, bringing new value and opportunities to those in the refrigeration industry. IIAR’s new membership structure will take effect on July 1, 2022, and the changes will increase the value of IIAR membership, promote recruitment and retention of members, and create financial balance and sustainability for IIAR.

As part of the change, members will receive free access to one IIAR training video set per year (Series I, II or III), one free Academy of Natural Refrigerants (ANR) course annually, free access to online electronic versions of all ten of the ANSI/IIAR standards, and free access to virtual conference content, said Eric Johnston, director of PSM for American Foods.

Eileen McKeown, vice president for marketing and sales for IIAR, said changing the membership structure was not an easy decision, but it will bring additional opportunities. “Members will have access to all of the member benefits they had before, but they can also access the education as part of their membership,” she said.

Johnston said IIAR’s mission ‘is to provide advocacy, education, and standards.’ “The modifications to the membership dues and benefits greatly promotes this mission by expanding the free benefits provided with membership to include educational videos, training, standards, etc., for our members,” he said.

The IIAR board came to its decision on membership dues after initially focusing on ways to balance the budget. “We were so heavily dependent on the revenue from the conference that when we have a pandemic as we had, it put a strain on the organization’s finances,” said Trevor Hegg, vice president of product development, industrial refrigeration and water systems, Evapco Inc. “We said, ‘How do we get that financial balance and stability?’” In November 2020, 23 IIAR members came together to discuss the issue and delved into ways membership could add value. “What was interesting was they all had different thoughts on what benefited them. End users had a different perspective than engineers, contractors, manufacturers,” Hegg said.

The executive committee created a task force that met for more than a year. Members looked at membership modifications that could increase non-conference revenue, add or enhance member benefits, and increase education and access to IIAR standards.

“The rate is going up slightly for individual members, but you’re getting more value than we’re raising the prices. You’re getting something more from your membership, which will hopefully attract new members,” Hegg said.

“ I think that it is extremely important and beneficial for the members to understand all the existing and new benefits that they are gaining in conjunction with this membership dues change.”

Eric Johnston, director of PSM for American Foods

The committee started creating financial models based on different rate structures and ultimately created a simple rate structure. “If you’re an individual, you pay $1,000, but for another $1,000, you can add four more members,” Hegg said. “Then it is another $2,000 for another five members, up to 25.”

Once locations reach 25 members, which is $10,000, there is a $100 fee for each additional member. “For $100, they have access to the standards, they get a training video and the ANR class included in their membership,” Hegg said.

A lot of companies have budgets for training, and now they can use that to access professional development through IIAR membership. “The thought was that this does help offset some company’s budgets for training,” Hegg said, adding that growing membership and providing training and educational content benefits the industry. “We’ll be making our industry stronger because this content will get to a bigger group of people.”

Johnston hopes the educational component will draw members into the association. “I think that it is extremely important and beneficial for the members to understand all the existing and new benefits that they are gaining in conjunction with this membership dues change,” Johnston said.

For many end-users, their management wants to understand what benefits their company/personnel will be receiving with this membership. Having a simple breakdown showing what the costs are for non-members versus free for members will help them to ‘sell’ this to their upper management, Johnston explained.

IIAR has been growing membership year over year. “Our growth has been very encouraging and we’re trying to change our membership structure to attract more people and grow the membership even more,” McKeown said. “As we grow as an organization, we expand our membership base into new verticals.”