Generate Additional Non-Dues Revenue from Surprising Sources

By David Butler • September 13, 2023

In May of 2021, Noora Health, a non-profit dedicated to educating families about infant care in southeast Asia, successfully raised $4.5 million through an NFT, showcasing an innovative approach to fundraising. While your organization might not be prepared for such cutting-edge methods, there exist numerous opportunities to adopt a fresh perspective in augmenting non-dues revenue.

One promising avenue is recruitment advertising. Despite the economy’s recovery from pandemic-related contractions, as of May 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 9.3 million unemployed Americans actively seeking employment. Simultaneously, around April 2021, an estimated 1.8 million Canadians remained unemployed or underemployed.

These figures unveil a lucrative revenue potential for associations by utilizing job boards or online career centers. Serving as hubs for both employers and talent within respective industries, associations can harness their online career platforms to connect employers with the requisite talent while generating revenue.

If your job board or online career center has been experiencing a decline, now is the opportune moment to enrich your offerings for employers looking to fill positions or create new roles. Reinvigorate your paid job posting packages, tailoring them to match the demands of your industry. Ponder the addition of job display advertising on your homepage and chapter pages, providing employers with enhanced value for their advertisements and enabling you to charge a premium. Collaborate with a network of career centers from related industries, allowing sponsoring recruiters to extend their reach across a broader pool of potential candidates.

To heighten the value your job board extends to employers, consider integrating job retargeting into your advertising options. This entails utilizing programmatic advertising to present display ads for featured job listings to individuals after they’ve left your online career center. This encourages them to revisit the listings, fostering more connections between talent and employers, thus bolstering your revenue.

For job seekers, offer a blend of free and fee-based services that cater to varying price points. Populate your career center with complimentary content covering industry topics and job search strategies. Introduce fee-based services like résumé review and interview coaching, available for purchase directly through your career center. Enrich your offerings with an online mentorship program, connecting emerging industry stars with seasoned professionals.

Another rapidly expanding avenue for non-dues revenue within associations is sponsored thought leadership. Your members possess a wealth of industry insights—facilitate their dissemination through sponsored content. Publish their blog articles or webinars in exchange for a fee. Host them on your podcast, allowing them to discuss their expertise while sponsoring the episode. Are they adept at creating videos? Offer to showcase their product or service demos on your website, exhibitor directory, or event site as standalone paid placements or as part of larger packages.

Sponsored emails are particularly gaining traction among associations. For a fee—typically beginning in the low four-figures and dependent on your association’s email list size—you can send members an email on behalf of a sponsor. The content may be promotional or purely editorial, with a respectful nod to the contributing business. This approach grants businesses controlled access to your members while offering members a chance to learn about new offerings or emerging trends. Naturally, this service also generates revenue for your association.

Regardless of your chosen approach to non-dues revenue, always remember that hoarding funds isn’t the primary goal. The true objective lies in utilizing these resources to enhance membership value and further enrich your industry. Will you allocate funds toward member dues scholarships? Expand accessibility to existing member programs? Or perhaps venture into more imaginative territories, like offering free museum passes to member families or sponsoring internship grants for member companies? Embrace one of these springs of non-dues revenue and watch your organization flourish!

About The Author

David Butler is a senior business development director with Naylor Association Solutions. Reach him at [email protected].