As defined for associations, non-dues revenue is considered revenue from any source other than membership fees. Non-dues revenue can help associations smooth out disruptions in the economic cycle, allowing them to maintain budgets and continue to provide members with the levels of service they expect.
The type of non-dues revenue you want to pursue depends on the nature of your membership association. You’ll want to find ways to generate additional revenue streams that augment your mission and fit your brand.
YM Careers has assembled ten of the best sources of non-dues revenue to consider for your association:
1. Conference sponsorships
Conference sponsorship packages are often offered to corporate vendors with multiple levels of benefits and sponsorship fees. Packages may include a booth and signage at the tradeshow, advertising in conference materials, special presentation sessions, meals or entertainment sponsorships, and more.
2. Annual association sponsorships
The needs of corporate sponsors are evolving, and so should your association’s sponsorship offering vendors integrated packages complete with year-round opportunities. These packages include conference sponsorships as well as advertising opportunities via publications, job boards, social media, and educational events.
3. Online career centers
If you make an online career center part of your association’s website, employers will pay to advertise job openings on your association’s job board to reach your membership base of skilled candidates. It also provides an added benefit by helping your association make connections with companies that might be good prospects for sponsorships and advertising packages.
4. Wesite banner advertising
Your association likely already has a website, so you can start generating revenue very quickly by selling banner advertisements. Your website is an important tool for recruiting new members, so protect your professional image by soliciting advertisements from companies that are relevant to your members.
5. Buyer’s guides
Build an online marketplace that functions as a buyer’s guide and enables vendors to advertise their products or services for your members. Your association receives a percentage of the revenue generated. Maintaining a buyer’s guide can deepen relationships with vendors and potentially open up other non-dues revenue opportunities.
6. Produce and distribute educational content
Consider providing a learning portal for your members to take online courses for certifications to help enhance their careers. Capture your in-person conference sessions and host them online to allow your members who couldn’t attend in person to review the content and be part of the conversation. Go one step further and, when your content becomes stale, repurpose and rebroadcast it to generate additional revenue with minimal effort.
7. Affinity programs
When you develop an affinity program, you allow a select group of companies to market products or services directly to your members with benefits members could not get anywhere else. Examples include wireless phone plans or branded credit cards. Your association can either charge a flat fee for vendors to join the program or receive a percentage of sales.
8. Career events and recruitment guides
Host career events for your members and industry recruiters to meet face-to-face or virtually. Recruiters will pay to exhibit at events to gain employment interest from your members. Additionally, connect your members with top employers within your industry with printed and digital recruitment guides. These drive incremental revenue by allowing employers to showcase their brand to your highly sought-after members.
9. Discounts on services
Some associations offer discounts on services sold directly to their members. One service that is well- suited to membership associations is insurance. Often, an association can resell life, health, vision or dental insurance to individual members while securing them a desirable group discount from the insurance carrier. Some associations also sell discounted tax preparation, financial planning, and travel as well.
10. Branded merchandising
You’ve probably seen examples of associations selling coffee mugs, t-shirts, or baseball caps with their logo. But really, the sky is the limit on branded merchandising. Nearly anything you can think of can be branded for your association, so think outside the box for unique ideas that members will love.