In our 2014 annual study of association communication trends, we lamented the fact that only half of associations (52.6 percent) were regularly asking advertisers and sponsors if they felt they were getting their money’s worth. What’s more, just three in five associations (59.9 percent) were incorporating the feedback they got from advertisers and sponsors into their pricing considerations and just 42.8 percent said they were trying to customize their advertising/sponsorship programs to a company’s specific needs.
Well it sounds like the message is getting through. According to early returns from an unscientific poll of Association Adviser readers, advertising and sponsorships were by far the fastest growing sources of non-dues revenue (NDR). Affinity programs and charitable donations also seem to be growing quickly. Approximately one in four respondents (25 percent) cited charitable donations (up from 11 percent in 2014 and another 25 percent cited corporate affinity programs (up from 10 percent in 2014).
As Michael Pennington, EVP of the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association explains in today’s Corner Office profile, “More and more association models are moving away from dues. You need a diversified portfolio of revenue streams to help you weather any storm.” In addition to sponsorship, HCEA generates NDR via meetings, benchmarking research and documents sold to the public. “NDR is at least an 8 on a scale of 10 for our members,” added Pennington. “If we had this conversation a few years ago it would be a 6-1/2.”