Cost of LION membership increases for the first time

Our updated pricing and tier structure better reflects the evolution of LION’s membership program.

December 1, 2021 by Chris Krewson

Image via Unsplash
Image via Unsplash

LION Publishers’ member benefits have significantly evolved — especially over the last year — to better meet the needs of current and aspiring news entrepreneurs. 

For example, we launched a Media Liability Insurance program, created funding and coaching opportunities to tangibly help members generate revenue for their news businesses, designed pathways for members to receive audience engagement support and revenue audits and consulting, and established direct help desk support from platforms like Google.

As LION continues to bolster its membership benefits to boost revenue and directly lower operating costs for LION members, and as we allocate additional resources toward building out our membership program, we are raising our membership rates for the first time since LION Publishers was founded nearly 10 years ago.

Beyond the improvements already made to LION’s membership program, we have also upgraded our membership software, Memberful, to allow any employee of our member organizations to access our members-only resources, which will soon include access to a suite of on-demand resources and training modules to help our members build sustainable businesses.

We are also shifting our membership tiers to be based on an organization’s annual revenue rather than on the number of an organization’s full-time employees. This adjustment to rely on annual revenue as the standard for determining dues payment reflects a similar dues structure to membership association Institute for Nonprofit News

We know many of our members rely on better-resourced individuals and organizations to provide financial support at a higher rate than lower-wealth individuals and organizations, and we are basing our rates on that same ideology. 

For 92% of LION members, the cost of an annual membership will increase by 40% — an increase of between $20 and $80 per year — with half of that increase simply adjusting for inflation since 2012. 

In an effort to make membership pricing more equitable across tiers, members with an annual reported revenue higher than $1.1 million (representing 8% of our membership) will now pay $550 for an annual membership — a maximum of 0.05% of their annual revenue.  

Here’s the full breakdown:

TierFormer Tier Condition (Full-time Employees or FTE)Former Tier Cost (annual membership)New Tier Condition (Annual Revenue)New Tier Cost (annual membership)Annual Price Increase
Aspiring EntrepreneurN/A$50N/A$70$20 (40% increase)
Small0-5 FTE$150$500,000 or less$210$60 (40% increase)
Medium6-20 FTE$200$500,000 – $1.1M$280$80 (40% increase)
Large21+ FTE$250Over $1.1M$550$300 (120% increase)

LION’s new membership tiers and rates will be effective for new members immediately, and will go into effect for current members upon their renewal. 

LION also adjusted its dues forgiveness policy to include organizations with two or fewer full-time employees that earn an annual revenue below $4,200 (up from below $3,000). If your organization fits this criteria, please check the appropriate box on the LION membership application to request dues forgiveness.

If you are a current LION member, you can log into your Memberful account here to confirm your upcoming renewal date and current tier’s pricing (which is subject to change based on your organization’s reported 2021 annual revenue.) Please also see this update about how to renew your LION membership, and related FAQ.

LION does not anticipate significant changes to membership pricing on an annual basis going forward. However, LION will plan to regularly assess the need to adjust membership rates to keep pace with inflation.

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