Increase Your Association’s Non-Dues Revenue Stream Before Your Next Annual Meeting
Member dues are at the core of any membership association’s financial success. However, you cannot depend on them as a sole source of income for your association.
So how can associations make more money to provide their members with a high-quality experience without raising membership dues and jeopardizing renewal rates?
The best way to do this is to diversify your revenue streams via non-dues revenues. You can find several different ways to bring in capital without drawing from renewal dues, which will keep your association thriving. These approaches can also help with engaging your association memberships to ensure that, come renewal time, your members will want to renew.
Let’s look at some examples of non-dues association revenue streams, challenges your association may face, and five successful association non-dues revenue streams your association can start drawing from today.
What Are Non-Due Revenue Streams?
Essentially, non-dues revenue refers to any income an association makes outside of dues capital. There are two sources of non-dues revenue:
Revenue the association earns from advertisers, suppliers, and vendors looking to reach your community through advertising opportunities, partnerships, or other events.
Revenue from additional fees charged to members for things like meeting registrations, books, webinars, publications, professional certificates, subscriptions, and branded merchandise.
This additional revenue helps associations deal with disruptions in the economic cycle. This lets them maintain consistent budgets and continue to provide their members with the high-quality member benefits they have come to expect.
While the definition is clear, many groups are unsure how to tap into these revenue streams, especially if they haven't fully developed their plan.
Let’s look at some revenue challenges commonly faced by associations and how you can find solutions for your unique challenges.
Photo by Austin Distel
What Revenue Challenges Do Associations Face?
The most significant challenge associations face regarding revenue generation is raising new or additional money directly from members. If your association is like most, then you rely on dues to pay for your staff, and resources, and to host events throughout the year. However, many associations have found that relying on a single source of revenue like dues is less than ideal since people may forget to pay dues.
And it’s no secret that revenue from dues alone isn’t enough to sustain any association's basic member value proposition, nor the expenses incurred to engage in advocacy or fulfill benefit expectations.
With membership revenue making up less than 50% of most national associations’ total revenue, developing and pursuing non-dues revenue streams is crucial for any association.
Many significant associations are already doing this, so small to midsize clubs, associations, and groups must ensure they secure revenue streams to make up the difference.
Let’s look at some practical ways to generate non-dues revenue for your association.
What Are Some Successful Association Non-Dues Revenue?
You must pursue revenue streams outside of membership dues regardless of the industry your association services. The types of non-dues revenue you seek should depend on the nature of your membership group.
Choose revenue streams that serve your mission and fit well with your association’s branding. Here are the top five methods for generating non-dues revenue that you should consider for your unique association to increase capital and better service your members.
1. Sponsorship Packages
A great way to achieve non-dues revenue is by offering your corporate venues a sponsorship package. These packages can be tiered with multiple levels of benefits to attract a wide variety of sponsors for your association or event.
You could offer a booth and signage at your in-person events like trade shows or your annual conference. Your sponsorship package could also include advertising on conference materials like t-shirts and programs.
Some sponsors want the opportunity to act as exhibitors in special presentation sessions or sponsor meals and entertainment. These are great opportunities to engage with local businesses looking to increase their exposure in the community while also driving more revenue for your association.
Offer different sponsorship levels and combine digital and in-person elements to sweeten the deal for the best results. Start with a limited variation, but create distinctions between each tier to make the larger packages worth their while. This is a great way to attract non-dues revenue that will offer value to your sponsors.
2. Online Career Centers
Online career centers are virtual resources that offer professional mentors who can assist in creating resumes, provide employment opportunities, or otherwise prepare association members for jobs in the industry.
Offering an online career center on your association’s website will open doors for non-dues revenue because employers will pay you to advertise job openings on your job board to reach skilled, high-quality candidates.
They also offer benefits besides revenue by helping your association make valuable connections with companies who may be inclined to partner with your group for sponsorships, advertising packages, and fundraising. This creates more opportunities for generating non-dues revenue.
3. Ongoing Educational Content
Continuing education is essential in any industry. You can provide an education program through a learning management system to open new revenue streams.
Your members will be able to take online courses to earn certificates that will enhance their careers and build valuable skills that will help them in their industry. Some examples of useful educational content you could offer are:
Recordings of your in-person event sessions for members who could not attend.
Infographics and exclusive content with important information.
Quizzes to help participants evaluate their knowledge.
Certificate programs to make continuing education easy for your association members.
To make your LMS enticing, continuously refresh and repurpose your content to ensure it reflects the most up-to-date procedures, information, and best practices your association members need to know about. This will ensure your members find value in your offerings, pay for access to your educational content platform and renew their membership when the time comes.
4. Career Events and Recruitment Guides
A little-known source of non-dues revenue comes from recruiters in your industry. They are willing to pay a fee to act as exhibitors at your in-person or virtual events to gain employment interest from your association members.
This is also a great way to connect your members with high-ranking employers in your industry and offer recruitment guides. Whether you provide these digitally or printed, these drive incremental revenue by allowing employers to show off their brand to your highly-qualified members.,
Hosting career events and offering recruitment guides generates non-dues revenue and adds another layer of benefits for your members. Since they joined your association to become better connected in your industry, these events offer the chance to get up close and personal with your industry's top employers.
5. Public Webinars
Typically, your association hosts events that are exclusive to your members. But an excellent method for generating non-dues revenue is hosting virtual events that are open to non-members.
Webinars are a great way to enhance your association's marketing strategy while generating non-dues revenue. Set both member and non-member pricing to access your webinar to create additional income. There are lots of other benefits to hosting a public webinar, including:
New Members: Hosting a public webinar is a great way to market your association and attract new members.
Accessibility: Webinars are easy to access anywhere, meaning your attendance levels will be higher than an in-person event.
Save Time And Money: Since webinars are a lot less costly and time-consuming than in-person events, your association can host them more frequently, driving more non-dues revenue.
OnDemand Content: Webinars are recordable, meaning you can convert them into OnDemand videos or podcasts that members and non-members can access at any time.
Photo by Sigmund
When planning your webinar, choose a topic relevant to your industry and enticing to both members and non-members. Choose a scalable webinar platform that offers interactive features to ensure your audience members are engaged. This will ensure any future webinars are well attended, making it easy to generate additional revenue for your association.
Keep Your Association Thriving With Non-Dues Revenue Opportunities
Associations should always look for new ways to generate revenue outside of membership dues. Although it can be challenging, it’s worth the effort to ensure your association has access to funding when dues don’t provide enough capital to operate to its highest potential.
Pursue methods that align best with your association’s branding. Don’t overlook online opportunities that can extend your association’s reach and attract new members while offering high-quality experiences for existing members.
If you're looking for ways to host webinars or virtual events to generate non-dues revenue, contact BeaconLive to see how our platform can open doors for new revenue streams and take your association’s marketing strategy to the next level.