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:
Non-Dues Revenue Strategy Components
Due-based and non-dues revenues are not mutually exclusive. They can both be utilized for revenue generation. Ultimately you will want to develop a non-dues revenue strategy that addresses why you want new revenue sources (your goal) and how best to achieve it. If your association is creating a brand-new NDR program or refining its current one, here are the TOP 5 things to keep in mind:
1. What Is Your Ultimate Strategic Goal? Planning and setting goals are key for any successful strategy. One goal is to generate revenue, but what else? Perhaps your association wants to boost membership or reach a wider audience.
2. How Will Your Members Benefit? Non-dues revenue strategies should offer added value to your association’s membership. Keep your audience in mind when planning your approach. You want to be sure this enhances/advances their everyday professional practice and fits into their current workflow.
3. Who Will Do The Heavy-Lifting? This is a major stressor for associations and rightfully so. Your staff wear many hats. If your staff has the time and ability, you may opt to handle sales and sponsorship internally. On the other hand, you may decide to outsource.
4. How Much Will This Cost? Ultimately, the association is adopting this model to grow revenue. Plan appropriately. Understand upfront and ongoing costs as well as the potential revenue you hope to achieve.
5. How Will This Program Be Promoted? Once you have decided to launch a new program, you need to share the good news with your members. Consider the channels you will use to disseminate the information to advertisers or members
Marketplace Revenue Opportunity
Members can collaborate directly with vendors within your privately-branded ecosystem, find solutions quickly (by category, keyword, or location) and take some of the guess-work out of vendor selection. For your vendors, this means engaging customers with online collaboration, demos, and thought leadership, accessing their target audience at the exact time they are looking to make a purchase, and keeping communication streams open after conferences and tradeshows. As a part of your association's NDR strategy, this solution provides new streams of revenue to help provide additional value to members, makes your vendor partners a part of the community all year long, allows you to stay relevant with your members by providing access to trusted resources, and increases organizational engagement by allowing vendors to collaborate meaningfully. All in all, it a win-win-win.
Discover your potential for new revenue opportunities and learn more about the Next Wave Connect MarketPlace here.