I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with a vibrant healthcare IT executive who serves on the Board of Trustees for her Professional Healthcare Association. I thought we were going to generally focus on the pressure and challenges Association leaders face with membership recruiting, engagement and retention. I was WRONG.
Do you know what actually keeps Association leaders up at night? Not the election. Not the election results. But the uncertainty of what comes NEXT post-election! (insert scary music here)
Historically, healthcare industry Associations have developed firm strategies around election years. During our conversation, however, I learned this year has been even more stressful than most when it came to response strategy because there was and still is so much that is “unknown.” Leading up to elections, association “All-Star” teams of staff, lobbyists, key members and leaders, and other stakeholders have:
Membership dues alone are not enough to sustain and keep most associations afloat. At best, they average only about 39% of total revenue. Non-dues revenue (NDR) is generated by the association through means other than membership dues. Increasingly, associations are opting for NDR as an alternative or supplemental business model.
Associations are now generating cash flow for their organizations through non-dues revenue strategies that include selling ads in their print or digital publication or website, conference exhibiting and sponsorships, webinars, and workshops. Even providing members with advanced certifications and accreditations can be a revenue stream for associations.
While no one can predict the future, it’s clear that dues can’t be expected to sustain membership organizations on their own. We often ask association CEOs about their growth challenges and hear phrases like: