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Webinar Recap | Retaining Revenue in Today’s New Normal

Organizations that have counted on revenue from in-person events are forced to find new revenue streams amid a world of social distancing. A diverse business portfolio provides sustainable year-round programs that drive revenue, create value, and better connect audiences digitally.

Community Brands recently gave a webinar outlining a strategy for creating a diverse business portfolio for member organizations. Speakers Tara Pawlak, Director of Marketing, and Katie Cook, Senior Marketing Strategist, spoke with association leaders about revenue-driving opportunities in today’s socially distant environment.

For most associations, member dues make up only 30% of total revenue. The top sources of non-dues revenue for associations are events, sponsorships, and exhibitors. And with many associations not expecting to return to in-person events before January 2021, a plan is needed to close the earnings gap.


One solution for offsetting revenue losses from canceled events is shifting your in-person event online. The benefits of an online event or career fair are many. Attendees and staff spend less money on travel and focus more on content and deliverability. Online events provide greater session flexibility, reach, engagement, and a smaller environmental impact.

Associations like yours can arrange virtual branding opportunities for sponsors that would typically be seen at in-person events. Sponsorship ads, meals, testimonial sessions, and branded gifts can be made available to virtual attendees through the mail, coordinated food delivery, pre-recorded videos, and digital ads. Sponsors with access to attendee data can seek connections for their goods and services during or after the event. This model maximizes sponsor ROI while giving attendees a reflection of the onsite experience.

Looking to plan and execute a virtual conference?

We’ve outlined the virtual software solutions you’ll need and guidance on how to implement these solutions to take your event online.


As stated in the webinar, it’s time for associations to look for revenue beyond events. According to Tara Pawlak, an effective diversification strategy begins with understanding your member’s needs. New member recruits identify employment as a top reason for joining their professional association. As a premier career destination for industry jobs and career resources, a job board is excellent for member acquisition and retention. Unsure how a job board will benefit your association? Think of adding a job board as an investment to cover near-term revenue gaps and establish a reliable revenue stream for the future.

“Members still have the same kinds of needs, ” says Tara Pawlak “How associations support and monetize those has changed in today’s environment.”

Connecting members with new employment opportunities can be profitable beyond a job board. Virtual Career Fairs allow members to connect with dozens of potential employers in just hours. Don’t forget to include your sponsors in your virtual event by pairing it with a digital guide. Sponsors will welcome another opportunity to reach your members and provide your association with another revenue stream

Download our latest guide with a list of proven member benefits to boost your associations non-dues revenue when you might need it the most

Tara recommends expanding learning opportunities as a member benefit as well. Community Brands’ 2018 Member Education and Career Development Report found that 85% of members want their professional organizations to provide continued learning opportunities. Luckily, adding a learning management system (LMS) is another virtual member benefit that provides an additional source of non-dues revenue.

When choosing an LMS, it’s essential to consider how your members want to absorb information. Find a flexible learning software that integrates live and on-demand webinars with micro-learning and skill checks to meet all your members’ learning needs.

Amid change, organizations with options to maintain active revenue streams will be in a better position in the future, than those less able to adapt. Suppose you are similar to discussion attendees unsure of when to host a virtual or hybrid event. In that case, it’s time to include alternative revenue-driving options to your portfolio.

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