The Purpose of Pricing

Michael Tatonetti
November 05, 2021

When it comes to value in pricing, it is not about greed.

Many associations think that if they discuss pricing, their members will see them as greedy, especially because we are nonprofit organizations. 

The reality is that our pricing is directly related to our financial sustainability, and our financial sustainability is what equips us to walk out our mission. 

Think of the small association who might not have weathered the past year, or the larger association who had to tap into reserves to keep their staff going and continue programming. When we ignore our pricing and leave money on the table, we’re putting ourselves in a worse position to be able to continue to operate and withstand any storms, but those storms are the time we are needed most to fulfill our mission as an organization. 

Our pricing and our value are not about greed, but asking:

“What value do we bring to our audience?” 

“What is a fair price to charge based on that value and the return on investment that they get from being a member of our organization, attending our events, earning our certification, or being a sponsor and partner with our organization?”

“What piece of the pie should we be getting for the value that we provide?”

No, the purpose of pricing and value is most importantly about serving our audience with the right value and maintaining financial sustainability to walk out our mission during the good and bad times.

But there is one more thing that a pricing and value strategy empowers.


When we have the conversation of value with an organization, what we’re discussing is how do we continue to innovate and meet our member and sponsor needs with the programming and products that we offer. Innovation allows us to say something is no longer serving the value that we originally intended, so we can sunset it. We know we can sunset it because we can filter it through the question of, “Is this providing value to our audience?”

It also allows us to ask, “What else could be?”, “What else could we create?”, “What other problems exist for our audience that we could be the solution to?”, “What might that look like?” 

It allows us to say “What are we currently doing really well that needs attention to value?  How can we bolster the programming in a way that further meets the needs of our audience?”

Ultimately, Pricing plus Value does not equal Greed.

Pricing + Value = Financial Sustainability + Innovation

This lens of pricing and value lets us see how we are empowering our members, the organizations they work for, and our sponsor partners to prosper because of the solutions we provide.

How are we empowering them to do their jobs better? How are we advocating and lobbying for them to have the policies to be successful? What does it mean when we become the resource that they turn to, to quickly find an answer when they have a tight deadline, and they need to go to a trusted source for content that they know is of value?

We have to ask, “What do we do for them?” and “What value we provide?” to then ask, “What price do we charge for the value we provide and what is the story that we can share around the value that we provide to capture the price that we’re going to charge?”

Dr. Michael Tatonetti is a Certified Association Executive and Certified Pricing Professional on a mission to advance associations in their pricing models for financial sustainability.  As a Trainer and Strategic Consultant, he works with organizations to harmonize pricing and value across membership, education, sponsorship, and events.  He is also an Association Executive with Professional Pricing Society overseeing education, certification, and strategy for marketing, membership, and sponsorship.  Dr. Michael creates new content every week on pricing for associations at