Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget

You’ve probably heard that phrase before. Essentially it means wanting much nicer things than we can actually afford. Or expecting much more than what we’ve paid for.

In my 14 years of consulting, I’ve noticed that a small minority of associations suffer from this affliction. For example, I once met with an association who was having a lot of difficulty with their existing database and website. After discussing all the things that didn’t’ work, I asked, “How much is this costing you now?” Their response: “About $200 a month.”


Two hundred dollars a month is $2,400 annually. That comes out to a little under $7 per day. To run your entire association and website.

The problem here is that the association is expecting champagne when they’re paying for beer.

I’ve written before about how amazingly good and inexpensive today’s technology is, as compared to just five or seven years ago. For example, five or seven years ago, it might cost an association with just 10 staff well over $100,000 to get into a new AMS. And that didn’t even include the website!

So yes, today’s technology IS much better and much cheaper than the good old days. But we still have to pay for the value we’re receiving. For many associations, $200 per month will cover their needs. But for others, not so much.

So don’t fall victim to a champagne taste on a beer budget. Like another old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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