Research into business associations indicates that many associations suffer from very high levels of inactive members and fail to deliver significant benefits to members. In order to improve provision, the objective of this paper is to understand the determinants that drive or limit performance of rural business associations. Previous research has focused on the ratio of perceived costs to benefits as informing the decision to remain a member. However, in small associations, membership may be more influenced by social norms than the logic of rational choice. Using measures of satisfaction and willingness to pay for association survival as in-group measures of performance this paper finds that (1)for small associations, group size is critical, (2)associations are valued higher in communities where trust is lower, (3)funding by public bodies may be counterproductive to long-term development aims, and (4) the degree of rurality is insignificant in explaining association performance.