Nine ways to grow association non-dues revenue

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 association professionals in the 2023 Association Trends Study by Community Brands, rank “increasing non-dues revenue” among the top priorities for their organizations. 

So, how can your association drive more non-dues revenue? Let’s look at some key non-dues revenue ideas. 

What can non-dues revenue do for associations?

Non-dues revenue supplements membership dues. It can help to 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. Your approaches to driving non-dues revenue will depend on your association’s specific goals.  

Nine association non-dues revenue ideas

Here are nine ways that your association can grow non-dues revenue while providing greater member value:

1. Optimize your association’s events to generate revenue.

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

For example, attract more paid 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 easier to drive more revenue from your events. For example, using NetForum AMS, you can:

  • Create, manage, and track event details such as multiple registration types, early bird and promotional pricing, and a-la-carte registration.
  • Track booth purchases, move exhibitors between booths, and easily create unique pricing structures as well as special fees for sponsored activities and special events.
  • Bill exhibitors based on milestone installment dates, and track cash receipts in your centralized accounts receivable system.

2. Sell sponsorships.

Selling sponsorships is a powerful way to drive more association non-dues revenue. In addition to selling sponsorships/exhibit booths at your events, you can sell annual association sponsorships. You can offer a variety of sponsor packages and prices that include things like:

  • Advertising – Offer advertising opportunities, such as banner ads on your association’s website.
  • Sponsored content – Allowing 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
  • Discount programs – Allowing 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. Drive revenue from your association’s publications.

Your publications are likely considered a go-to resource for information related to your industry or profession. So, find opportunities to generate revenue from them. For example, offer 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 AMS 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. Fundraise. 

Fundraising can be a powerful way to generate non-dues revenue. If fundraising is part of your association non-dues revenue plan, it’s important to have association management software in place that not only supports your fundraising efforts, but also helps you take it to the next level. 
For example, NetForum AMS 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 donations. 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 engagementEngagement 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 AMS includes member engagement scoring technology that helps you measure the engagement levels of each of your members so that you can understand which members have donated 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 gifts programRecurring donations are one of the simplest yet most effective ways to increase giving from your members over time. Research shows that monthly donors give more than one-time donors. 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 gifts 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. These tools help 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 guide, How to Exceed Your Association’s Fundraising Goals.

5. Offer a strong professional education program.

Your members look to your association for learning opportunities that allow them to grow professionally and fulfill 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 system (LMS), Crowd Wisdom, to manage all aspects of a robust continuing education program.

6. Provide certification and credentialing opportunities.

Your members want to advance their careers, and they need the certifications and credentials to do so. The 2023 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. The right AMS 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. Offer a robust set of career resources.

Offering an online career center helps you increase non-dues revenue while attracting more members and improving member retention.

Your membership base represents a pool of valuable, skilled candidates for recruiters. Employers will pay to advertise job openings on your association’s job board within your career center and promote their job openings to your members in other ways, such as:

  • Through your association’s website 
  • Via a job alert email to your members
  • Through a job feed or widget in your association’s email newsletter

Your job board can also 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).

Plus, the 2023 Association Trends Study indicates that job opportunities and help with career advancement are among the top important benefits to members. Transforming your association into “the” career resource for your industry or profession is invaluable for your members and prospects who are looking for a job and wanting to grow their careers.

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

YM Careers also helps you provide a stream of qualified candidates for your industry by allowing employers to market their job openings to your members. With tools for posting and promoting jobs, plus screening and managing candidate applications, YM Careers lets employers tap into your base of highly qualified members to fill open jobs. YM Careers also has a team that can help you market and drive sales for your online career center to help you maximize revenue. 

8. Drive sales through e-commerce.

Creating a familiar online store experience is a great way to drive non-dues revenue for your association. For example, through 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 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. Analyze your data.

You might not think of data analytics when you think about generating association 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 Data Analytics for Associations, available in NetForum AMS, provides your association’s staff, leadership, chapters, members, and board of directors with the insights they need to find new opportunities for non-dues revenue growth. For example, you could 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 professional education 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 TIP: Save more money for your bottom line.

In addition to helping you drive more non-dues revenue, the right AMS can help you add more money to your association’s bottom line. For example, with NetForum:  

  • You get a predictable cost structure and no charge for product updates.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) functionality is included, so there’s no need to spend extra for an external CRM product.
  • There are no costly servers to maintain.
  • You gain day-to-day efficiencies for your team through customizable workflows to save your staff time.
  • 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 about how to drive more non-dues revenue for your association.

NetForum is association management software built for mid-to-large sized associations like yours. Learn more about how NetForum AMS can help you maximize revenue while delighting your members.

Blog Subscribe

This will close in 0 seconds