5 Tips to Generate More Non-Dues Revenue for Your Association

Association dues are a steady and consistent stream of revenue, but today, they account for just 45% of an association’s overall revenue. In the 1950s, that percentage was 95% – all but 5% of an association’s revenue came directly from its members.

In the 70-plus years since that time, membership dues shrank against the revenue generated from other programs, events, and member-based services. As a result, associations became less dependent on due income and, in many ways, more financially secure. Now, in the shadow of the COVID pandemic, many associations seek new and additional sources of revenue.

Non-dues revenue design takes an entrepreneurial mindset and a certain level of boldness to accept the creation of new programs and to sunset older legacy programming. The association experts at Etherio have crafted many types of non-dues revenue programs that provide member value, reveal industry intel, and, lastly, actually generate revenue.

It’s important to remember that the types of non-dues revenue that will be most successful for your community will significantly depend on your audience and the nature of the association.

So, what is non-dues revenue, anyway?

For associations, non-dues revenue is defined as revenue generated from any other source than membership fees. These funds serve as reserves to help associations provide interrupted service for their members – even during economic turbulence.

Here are five concrete ideas for generating non-dues-based revenue for your association:

Offer training & certification programs

In a 2021 association trends study, two-thirds of members surveyed said they’re required to take professional education to comply with industry standards. Your association may already offer training options, but providing new educational prospects creates credibility for your profession and fresh ways for current and future members to engage with your association year-round.

Promote an online career center

Your membership base offers a rich array of skilled candidates for recruiters. Employers will likely welcome an untapped opportunity to advertise job openings on your association’s career board in today’s tight labor market.

Additionally, your job board provides an excellent platform to cultivate partnerships with companies that may eventually sponsor and advertise with your association.

Retune your sponsorship & advertising opportunities

As the world turns, so do the many ways your sponsor packages serve your partners.

If your association offers a conference, you’ve probably already crafted a sponsorship package. Now take it a few steps further and create integrated year-round advertising opportunities. The opportunities are endless – packages could offer advertising opportunities, e.g., in your newsletter or website, job board posts, social media takeovers, sponsored email marketing, and conference sponsorship.

Set up an online swag shop

Selling merchandise branded with your association’s logo is a great advertising opportunity for your association. Some promotional product vendors will create an organizational shop that will sell your branded pieces 100% on-demand and drop ship the items to customers. In return, your association receives a percentage of the sales.

Our client IAIP experienced positive feedback from its members when they launched a pop-up shop that sold limited-edition branded pieces – so much that it’s now an anticipated moment for their community.

Amplify your non-dues revenue stream with Etherio

Non-dues-based revenue bolsters your association’s budget and drives greater member engagement. You can build a year-round non-dues revenue stream by taking a concerted- and creative approach to your plan. Want to learn more? Contact us.

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