3 tips for generating non-dues revenue

Looking to fund new association management software? Here are tips for generating non-dues revenue to pay for the new technology you need to keep your small organization moving forward.

Your association might be handling member data with messy spreadsheets and multiple outdated systems. Or, maybe you have a membership management system that isn’t keeping up as your organization grows. Either way, you know it’s time for new association management software (AMS) to help your organization work more efficiently and deliver a better member experience.

But how can your association pay for it?

Here are three tips to help you fund a new Association Management Software (AMS) system using non-dues revenue:

1. How much does an AMS costs?

One of the first questions to answer when thinking about how to pay for your new AMS is simple: “How much does it cost?” The answer is a bit more complex: It depends.

Multiple factors go into the cost of an AMS. These include:

  • How you will select it
  • How you will pay for it
  • What you want it to do
  • How you will implement it
  • Who will be using it
  • How long you plan on using it

Together, these factors can help you determine the total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO is a financial estimate intended to help buyers and owners determine the direct and indirect costs of owning a product or system. It includes the costs of owning an asset, beyond just the purchase price. For example, when you buy a car, TCO includes the purchase price of the car as well as costs for insurance, maintenance, repairs, and fuel.

Gaining a better understanding of what your new AMS will cost helps you determine how much revenue you will need to pay for it.


2. Identify potential non-dues revenue streams.

Non-dues revenue (revenue from any source other than membership fees) can be a great way to offset the cost of (or pay for) a new AMS solution. There are multiple ways to drive non-dues revenue, including:

  • Advertising – Selling advertising can be a highly effective way to drive revenue. Offer banner ad placement on your association’s website, in your membership directory, in email communications, in print and online publications, and in your online community. Creating an advertising sales kit can make it easier to grab potential advertisers’ attention and convince them to spend their advertising budget with your organization.
  • Sponsorships – Developing a sponsorship program is a great way to increase non-dues revenue. It gives companies in your industry exposure to a targeted audience (your members) while giving your members information about relevant products and services. Offer sponsorship opportunities for everything from your association’s content to meetings and events.

  • Job board sales – Set up an online job board and give employers in your industry the opportunity to pay to post their job openings. You can also give employers the option to pay for additional exposure of their job postings through job alert emails and other promotions. As a bonus, an online career center offers your members a highly valuable benefit.
  • Online store sales – Set up an online store and allow members to purchase everything from branded merchandise to event registrations.
  • Donations – If your organization can accept charitable donations, ask members and others in your industry to support your organization with a donation.

3. Justify the purchase.

While you might understand the need for a new AMS system for your association, you still need to convince your board. One of the best ways to persuade them that it’s time for new technology is to help them understand the value of new association technology for your organization.

A good first step is to tally your current cost of membership management. Using multiple disparate systems and spreadsheets to manage your organization can be costly and time consuming. Use this Return On Investment (ROI) calculator to show how much membership management is costing your organization today and to justify the costs of purchasing a new AMS.

The next step is to build a business case. Your business case should include a review of the goals and challenges of your organization, the potential benefits a new AMS system can provide, and how you can pay for the new software with non-dues revenue.

In your business case, be sure to mention that moving to all-in-one software can help you to lower overall technology costs by reducing the need to pay for multiple systems. For example, YourMembership AMS by Community Brands is affordable, easy-to-use, all-in-one membership management software for small to mid-sized associations. By using an all-in-one solution like YourMembership, there’s no need to pay for one system to manage membership, another to create and manage events, another to set up an online community, and so on.

Also, because YourMembership is hosted in the cloud, you don’t have to install software or pay for costly upgrades – it’s all included in the annual price.

Another thing: There’s no need to pay for a techie to manage YourMembership. It’s easy to use, and the YourMembership team guides you through setup of your database and launches your system, so there’s no need to understand software coding or how databases work.

Your association needs the right technology to support goals, address challenges, and ultimately provide a member experience that attracts new members and keeps them around for the long haul. Using the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to securing and paying for the new technology you need to keep your organization moving forward.

Take the next step

Learn how YourMembership AMS can help you operate more efficiently while building member engagement and increasing revenue: Request a demo!

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