9 Savvy Tips for Associations to Grow Non-dues Revenue

Generating non-dues revenue is vital to your association’s financial health.

Growing non-dues revenue is an important part of your association’s financial health. It provides a stream of revenue in addition to membership dues to keep your association going strong.

It’s no wonder that in the Association Trends Study by Community Brands, association professionals rank “increasing non-dues revenue” among the top priorities for their organizations.

What can non-dues revenue do for your association?

9 Savvy Tips for Associations to Grow Non-dues Revenue

Non-dues revenue can help smooth out bumps in the road when your association goes through periods of flat or declining memberships. It can also give you added revenue to help grow and expand your association.

There are multiple ways to generate added revenue streams that support your mission and your brand. Your approaches to driving non-dues revenue will depend on your specific association’s goals.

Nine ways that associations can grow non-dues revenue while providing greater member value:

1. Events

Your association probably already host events. So, why not use them to generate more non-dues revenue?

For example, attract more attendees by offering multiple registration levels and special pricing. Also, drive more exhibit booth sales by providing a smooth and enticing exhibitor experience, with varied pricing structures and add-on sponsor/exhibitor opportunities.

NetForum association management software (AMS) by Community Brands makes it easy to drive more revenue from your events. For example, you can create, manage, and track event details, such as multiple registration types, early bird, promotional or complimentary pricing, and a-la-carte registration. You can also track booth purchases, move exhibitors between booths, and easily create unique pricing structures as well as special fees for sponsored activities and special events. Plus, you can bill exhibitors based on milestone installment dates, and track cash receipts in your centralized accounts receivable system.

2. Sponsorships

Selling sponsorships is a powerful way to drive more revenue. In addition to selling sponsorships/exhibit booths at your events, consider selling annual association sponsorships. Offer a variety of sponsor packages and prices that include things like:

  • Advertising opportunities, such as banner ads on your association’s website or various sizes of ads in your electronic or printed publications
  • Allow a company to sponsor your association’s content, such as a paper or study. Create a web page for the content, with the sponsor’s logo, company description, and website link on the page
  • Allow sponsors to offer special discounts to your members, which can be an added member benefit that could translate into higher retention rates for your organization. For example, a sponsoring company might offer a discount off a service that members likely need.

3. Publications/subscriptions

Your publications are likely considered a go-to resource for information related to your industry or profession. Drive revenue from these publications by offering advertising opportunities. And, if your organization produces multiple publications, consider offering one as a membership benefit, and charge a fee for receiving additional publications.

NetForum makes it easier to manage subscriptions for your publications. For example, you can set up, track, and manage subscriptions with a variety of prices, formats, and distribution methods.

4. Fundraising

Fundraising can be a powerful way to generate non-dues revenue. If fundraising is part of your non-dues revenue plan, it’s important to have association management software (AMS) in place that not only supports your fundraising, but also helps you take it to the next level.

NetForum supports multiple approaches to achieve your fundraising goals. It can help you:

Manage donor data

Just as your AMS helps you track contact information, engagement history, and other details about your members, it should also help you track and report on donor information. NetForum helps you think about your members as donors. It allows you to manage a profile for each of your members that includes a comprehensive view of the communications, touch points, interests, giving history, and past campaigns that have inspired giving. It also allows you to give donors and prospects the convenience of managing their own profiles, contact information, recurring gifts, and saved payment methods through an online donor portal.

Measure donor engagement

Engagement scoring helps you determine how engaged your donors and prospective donors are with your organization, and then take action to get them more involved. Engagement scoring might sound complicated, but it’s well within reach if you have the right AMS.

NetForum includes proprietary A-Score technology that helps you measure the engagement levels of each of your members so that you can understand which members have given before and which are likely to give again.

Track household value

No matter who writes the check or completes the online donation form, all members of a household should be recognized and treated as donors. They should also be cultivated for future giving opportunities.Fundraising functionality in NetForum makes it easier for your association to track the true value of a household. It helps you track individual relationships and the household’s giving level. It also allows you to soft-credit other members of the household for a donor’s gift so that no matter whose record is viewed in your association’s database, the total giving from all household members is apparent.

Simplify moves management

Moves management is all about moving donors through the donor lifecycle – from prospective donor to first-time donor to repeat donor to major donor. NetForum helps you automate each step of your moves management activities to help your staff save time so they can focus less on manual activities and more on the strategy of targeted donor cultivation. It helps you track, analyze, and predict the movement of donors and prospects as well as easily assign tasks to staff and key volunteers based on donor behavior.

Set up a recurring giving program

Recurring donations are one of the simplest yet most effective ways to increase giving from your members over time. The easier you make monthly donations, the more likely you will be to drive up your revenue. NetForum helps you set up a strong recurring giving program that does things like give donors the option to turn their donation into a recurring gift through your online donation form and set up the recurring schedule as weekly, monthly, or annually.

Process gifts efficiently

NetForum includes tools for gift processing that can help you save time and drive more revenue for your organization. It helps you manage acknowledgements and tax receipts more efficiently, track annual campaign results more accurately, and track campaign results more easily.

Discover more tips, tools, and techniques for fundraising at your association: Read the blog, Best practices to help you exceed your association’s fundraising goals.

5. Professional education

Your members look to your association for learning opportunities that allow them to grow professionally and fulfill industry continuing education requirements. Optimize your learning program for revenue generation by doing things like taking your in-person learning events online. With this approach, you can bring in revenue that you wouldn’t otherwise capture from members who cannot attend your in-person events. You can also incorporate sponsors and exhibitors into the online experience via session sponsorships and logos to generate added revenue.

NetForum AMS integrates with Community Brands’ award-winning learning management systems, Crowd Wisdom and Freestone, to manage all aspects of a robust continuing education program.

6. Certifications and credentialing

Your members want to advance their careers, and they need the certifications and credentials to do so. The 2022 Association Trends Study shows that certifications/credentials are among the most valued member benefits.

Creating a certification and credentialing program can help you bring in non-dues revenue through certification and exam fees. But keeping track of continuing education credits, credentials, and certifications can be a handful if you try to tackle it manually. Modern technology can help you manage your credentialing program throughout each stage of your members’ career journey, from graduation through retirement.

NetForum can help you streamline and automate your certifications processes and manage your credentialing program more effectively. NetForum’s credentialing software, powered by Agilutions, is an essential part of any certification program, enabling staff to streamline processes and empower learners with greater visibility and participation in the certification process.

7. Career resources

Offering an online career center helps you increase non-dues revenue while attracting more members and improving member retention. Employers will pay to advertise job openings on your association’s job board within your career center. And your job board can help your association make connections with companies that might be good prospects for sponsorships and advertising packages (another great way to drive non-dues revenue).Transforming your organization into “the” career resource for your industry or profession is invaluable for your members and prospects who are looking for their next great job. Plus, your member base represents a pool of valuable, skilled candidates for recruiters.

YM Careers by Community Brands integrates with NetForum AMS to help you build a robust online career center. In addition to job board job software to power an online job board, a YM Careers-powered online career center offers career planning resources to help you create the ultimate online destination for your members:

  • Career Advice – This module allows you to offer a library of career articles and other content about topics including résumé and cover letter writing, networking, job interview techniques, and career growth ideas.
  • Career Coaching – With this module, you can connect your members with certified career coaches who guide members through career planning, résumé building, and negotiation. They can also help members navigate career challenges, add direction to their career goals, and prep for job interviews.
  • Career Insights – This module allows you to give your members data about their potential careers, helping them gain the knowledge they need to change career direction or move forward in their current careers.
  • Career Paths – With this module, you can give your members a tool to create a roadmap to achieve their individual career goals. Members can choose a desired job title, and then see a career path that includes job descriptions and relevant skills needed for the next steps in their career journeys.

8. E-commerce

Creating a familiar online store experience is a great way to drive non-dues revenue for your association. For example, by building an online store, you can offer members a convenient way to join, renew, register for events, and buy products. You can also sell products, including merchandise and publications, online.

With NetForum e-commerce capabilities, your association can create a convenient and easy-to-manage online store experience. You can easily connect it with your inventory management and accounting tools to simplify all aspects of online sales. Plus, you can charge credit cards in real-time through a third-party payment processor, and automatically send batch transactions to your accounting software.

TIP: You might have seen examples of associations selling mugs, T-shirts, or hats with their logo. But there’s no limit when it comes to 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. Make it easy for your members to purchase these products by offering the items in your online store.

9. Data analytics

You might not think of data analytics when you’re thinking about generating non-dues revenue. But consider that when you have deep insights into your member data, you can find opportunities to provide new offerings that drive revenue. Nucleus, the first data analytics solution developed specifically for associations, can be added to NetForum to provide your association’s staff, leadership, chapters, members, and board of directors with the insights they need to find new opportunities for growth.

For example, you can use Nucleus to gain insights that make it easy to spot learning trends, measure course activity, and track and analyze the certification journey of each individual participant in your learning program. These capabilities give you the ongoing insights you need to meet the evolving needs of your members and thereby sell more learning products.

Using Nucleus with NetForum also cuts down on the need for your staff to spend valuable time pulling data from multiple systems when they need to run a report or analyze some aspect of their departmental function – giving them more time to spend on revenue-generating activities.

BONUS: Save money on your AMS to put more dollars into your bottom line.

In addition to helping you drive more non-dues revenue, the right AMS can help you add more dollars to your bottom line. For example, with a modern AMS like NetForum, you get a predictable cost structure and no charge for quarterly product updates. Plus, customer relationship management (CRM) functionality is included, so there’s no cost for an external CRM product needed.

Also, NetForum increases IT efficiencies and reduces system costs without servers to maintain. And you gain day-to-day efficiencies for your team through customizable workflows to save your staff time.

And, if your organization does not have complex needs, you can be up and running on NetForum faster and at a fraction of the cost than a more complex implementation.

Learn more

NetForum is association management software built for mid-to-large sized associations. It’s part of the Community Brands connected network of software solutions for associations that can help your organization attract, engage, and retain members while driving more revenue.

Learn more about how NetForum can help you maximize revenue while delighting your members. Explore NetForum.

Learn smart ways to grow non-dues revenue while delighting your association’s members.

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