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Look Beyond the Renewal: The Best Sources of Non-Dues Revenue

by | Mar 13, 2014 | Industry News & Trends

This article originally appeared in the January/February edition of ASAE’s “Associations Now – Great Ideas from Industry Partners.”

Dues-based associations, regardless of industry or size, need to identify ways to stay relevant and competitive in an environment where members and prospects want proof of value before they hand over their money to pay for membership.

As associations take on the pressures of the economy and increasing member demands, it becomes vital to identify and implement non-dues revenue opportunities to help ensure financial health.

Many associations already use a variety of programs to generate non-dues revenue, among the most common being:

  • Annual Sponsorships
  • Conference and Meeting Fees
  • Conference Exhibitor and Sponsorship Item Fees
  • Internet Advertising
  • Newsletter and Publication Advertising
  • Branded Merchandise

Each are at risk as technology continues to drive change in how the 21st century association operates. Traditional meetings are evolving into virtual, online events as organizations look to reduce travel costs and become more inclusive to members who are geographically challenged. Online learning is changing the way continuing education is delivered. Print publications are quickly disappearing as associations go green, taking back the revenue spent on printing and mailing. Faced with these changes, associations will need to find ways to prevent the loss of those vital advertising and sponsorship dollars.

Fortunately, the same technology that eliminates some of these traditional revenue offerings, delivers new channels for associations to pursue.

Membership Software
The power and flexibility of a MMS enables an association to engage its membership strategically, using member data and preferences to understand needs, and design offerings that drive greater member value. With membership software associations are able to utilize powerful tools to manage events; design and implement marketing campaigns; collect revenue for events, dues, products, and advertising/sponsorships; offer e-commerce through online stores, and much, much more.

Buyer’s Guides
Associations can offer a one-stop digital marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers on levels never before possible. An online Buyer’s Guide enables associations to provide vendors with a deeper connection to the association’s members, promoting their products and services from a trusted source.

Career Center & Job Boards
Career centers and online job boards make it possible for associations to generate non-dues revenue by becoming their industry’s top employment resource. Employers pay to list and advertise their targeted opportunities to members and prospective members, creating a steady stream of automated non-dues revenue. By posting jobs, employers gain exclusive access to the best, most qualified candidates, consisting of engaged, (career minded) professionals with the degrees, certifications, and experience to increase quality of hire and candidate success. Online career centers connect an association’s members and prospects to the top employers and opportunities within their industry, helping the association to build greater loyalty and engagement.

Moving Forward
It is important to view non-dues revenue programs as more than just an avenue to make money. Each program you choose to implement must support your strategic efforts and mission, avoiding any negative impact on your membership and brand. Programs should be periodically reviewed for their current value, and projected success.

Additional Resources

Visit our Learning Center and download The Ultimate Guide to Non-Dues Revenue: The Ten Best Ideas for more inspiration and advice related to non-dues revenue.


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