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NERO National recently announced that it is reinstating the annual $15 NERO membership fee. Noah Mason posted here about the need for a fee, and Bill Tobin addresses some of the critiques about it here. Rather than talking about the pros and cons of the fee itself, I’d like to brainstorm some ways that you (as a game director) might be able to retain your players and soothe some of the [understandable!] frustration surrounding annual dues. Think about it this way: if you implement a plan to help cover your players membership fee, it could actually draw people to your chapter.
- Reimburse players for their membership fee after they’ve attended at least three of your events during a calendar year. (make sure to communicate with other nearby chapters who might be using this promotion so that players don’t get reimbursed multiple times!) This rewards loyal players and incentives repeat customers.
- Some players feel it’s unreasonable to pay two different membership fees. If you charge a local membership fee for insurance and database access, roll this price into the cost of your event ticket instead. That way, players are only paying for one membership and won’t be tempted to move to another chapter to avoid your local fee.
- Plan a local membership drive. This could be a great opportunity for community-building. Host a movie, pizza, or game night and charge everybody five bucks to attend. This money can be put towards poor college kids, NPCs showing up to check out the game, first time players, or other people for whom $15 a year is a dealbreaker. People who are generous enough to donate straight into the fund should be blasted in the face with goblin points and regarded as local heroes.
- Pay your players’ dues if they donate $15 worth of props, costume, spell packets, food, or other goods that you would otherwise have to buy. For example, a player could bake a bunch of pies and serve dessert to everybody in trade for their membership dues. This way, you’ve made the membership fee pay for a direct and visible benefit to your game.
Any other constructive ideas? Leave a comment and share!