In 2009 my group started charging a fee. There was OUTRAGE! How could a community built by it's members be forced to pay for that community? As so many of you know, while running a supportive group is a labor of love, it's still labor. We went from 13,000 email addresses to 1400 members paying $25 a year. It was slow growing, but we're almost 7,000 members strong. The dynamics of the group changed for the better-- a lot of the dead wood went away and people were more committed to the community.
I know Mark hasn't built a membership fee platform, but I hope that he is able to do that in the coming years. A nominal fee can help a feeling of commitment and loyalty (and you can always have a reduced fee/free membership for people who can't afford it).
Enough about membership fees.... Now on to the yearly fee...
I'm SOOOO glad we switched to Groups.io. Mark has been so thoughtful about the moderation tools and making it easy for people to use. While $20/month may be a stretch for some of you, and I UNDERSTAND the frustration of the overnight switch, being able to get support, the name of a specialist, saving calling around and visiting multiple doctors, and so much more is worth $.60 a day/ $4.25 a week. For the price of a cup of coffee a week, the WHOLE group can interact with other folks in a comfortable environment (yahoo was awful) and trust that Mark and Groups.io is going to be around for a while. I think we all saw the writing on the wall with Yahoo-- it was a broken down car that no one was fixing but we (I still have groups on Yahoo) just kept the hope alive that it wouldn't go away. BLAM! The broken car is now being picked up by the giant magnet to be put in the compactor.
I bet a quick email to your group members asking folks to buy a cup of coffee/tea for the moderator on Venmo would quickly pay the price of the group for a year.
Many of the comments speak to the feeling a lot of us have -- being sideswiped by Yahoo. I just want to urge people to take a deep breath-- We will ALL get through this and have over a month to make it happen!
Apologies for all the car-metaphors... Interesting because as I haven't owned a car in 21 years!
Since you can never be told enough-- THANKS for all the great work you do with your groups.
Founder, Park Slope Parents
one of the largest membership-based online parenting groups in the world.