Everyone seems to be talking about non-dues revenue, and it’s with good reason. The past couple of years has demonstrated that associations can’t rely on single sources of revenue, no matter what they are.
Dues revenue, once thought stable for the long term, is fluctuating as membership levels change and member needs and preferences shift. Likewise, income from meetings and trade shows took an initial hit last year before associations began pivoting to virtual platforms. It is clear that multiple revenue streams are essential to the financial health of most associations.
Here are 25 ideas that might help you develop the extra revenue streams your association needs:
Meetings & Conferences – In Person, Virtual or Hybrid
Associations have an opportunity to both increase revenue and reduce conference expenses by allowing companies to brand certain elements of the meeting. First, however, evaluate your conference fees to be sure you’re charging enough while still offering a great value.
- Evaluate registration fees.
- Allow advertising in conference programs and apps.
- Solicit content sponsors for panel discussions, speakers, educational sessions.
- Solicit social event sponsors (i.e., receptions, coffee breaks, social activities).
- Hold silent auctions for foundations or other charities.
- Provide pre- or post-meeting education for an extra fee.
Your meeting will attract the very professionals your suppliers want to meet. Make it possible for members and suppliers to connect easily.
- Provide booth rentals.
- Solicit sponsorships for events held on the trade-show floor.
- Solicit sponsorship for special presentations.
Your members come to your association or trade organization because it is a trusted brand. You are in a great position to develop and offer the educational opportunities your members need for their professional growth. Think about how you can partner with large employers to provide education for their employees.
- Offer courses, workshops, seminars & lunch ‘n’ learn opportunities.
- Offer white papers, industry reports, or other content for a fee
- Create credentialing or certification programs.
- Offer micro-credentialing programs.
- Create premium digital content – podcasts or videos for a fee.
Automating a job board, including payment, can provide great service to your industry without tying up staff time.
- Host a job board and consider adding content to help members find new jobs.
- Allow companies to post ads on your job board for a fee.
Your publications, both online and in print, are delivered directly to advertisers’ target markets, making ads in them especially valuable.
- Sell banner ads on your website.
- Sell ad space in online and print publications.
- Offer promotional flyers in new member packets.
- Leverage ad opportunities on social media.
Leverage Existing Assets
You can turn the things your association owns, as well as the data it collects, into revenue-generating assets.
- Rent space in your office – board room, offices or training space. Some associations have purchased buildings for this purpose.
- Sell membership directory or mailing lists.
- Monetize your data to provide market intelligence, benchmarking, and custom research.
- Create a retail store for industry books, branded merchandise, & other items unique to your industry.
- Make technical solutions, such as an application programming interface (API), developed by your association available to the industry.
Now you have 25 great ideas for generating non-dues revenue. How can you decide where to start?
We would suggest that you should start by talking to your members. They can share what challenges they face and what solutions they would support. They might even have a few ideas to share with you!
Emma is the Marketing Manager at Rhythm. When she's not thinking about all things content-related, you can find her traveling or shooting 35 mm film.