Hidden In Plain Sight: Find More Non-dues Revenue for Your Association

By Association Adviser staff • April 11, 2022

Are you struggling to find additional areas to drive more non-dues revenue for your association? Chances are, you missed opportunities that are right at your fingertips. The good news is that there’s a veritable goldmine of non-dues revenue ready to be tapped into, and we’re here to show you how to maximize your effort. 

Where To Find Non-dues Revenue

Likely, your association is already leveraging traditional ways to generate non-dues revenue, such as website advertising, sponsorships, print magazines, digital magazines, directories, show guides, conference apps, online buyers’ guides, videos, eNewsletters, career job boards or exhibit sales. However, many associations tend to miss hidden opportunities that are less obvious than these traditional sources – and that are easily implemented. Let’s take a closer look at how to maximize these unique opportunities. 

Expand Your Print and Digital Ecosystem

Here are a few practical ways you can seamlessly expand your existing print and digital ecosystem to boost your non-dues revenue.

Marketplace and Special Sections in Publications

Adding special sections in the publication or digital publication, which are related to the content of the issue or a specific field or area of interest, can be beneficial if offered as a downsizing option for advertisers who don’t have the budget for display advertising. They can also be used for getting more incremental ads toward the end of your sales cycle to bring in additional revenue. 

Email Sponsors

Don’t be afraid to include a sponsor’s name on e-blast emails that you’re already sending, whether it’s your digital edition or just a monthly legislative update. Many companies are willing to pay just to have their names on something your association produces. A sponsor at the top of the email can be huge in terms of brand recognition for a supplier in your industry. You also have the option of offering a display ad at the end of any email.


Retargeting is a unique way to capture people who visit your website after they leave. Once they’ve visited, this highly effective digital advertising tool is used by marketers to target them in display ads for your website as they view other websites.

Offer Sponsored Content

Content is highly sought after by advertisers right now. Your organization can entice advertisers by producing podcasts or webinars, research papers or surveys, social media posts, or even education programs within your learning management systems.

Print or Digital Advertorials

Advertorials allow you to control the final product. You can set limits on words, calls to action, URLs, company taglines, graphics or logos. It’s also a good idea to create guidelines for the sponsor. Media kits or sales promotions should note that the advertorial must provide value to your membership.

Podcasts, Webinars and Seminars

Advertisers recognize that their ad dollars have a longer shelf life with webinars and podcasts. If you’re producing webinars or podcasts and don’t have sponsorships for them, you should consider this option. As long as you have a few months scheduled in advance with the speakers and topics, advertisers will buy the spots at a premium. Placement isn’t intrusive, however, it is effective. There is also the opportunity to include things like a banner on the podcast or archived webinar page, a sponsored-by mention and giving the sponsor an ability to talk about who they are and what they offer.

Research Papers or Surveys

To offset the cost of your organization’s larger studies or research, it’s worth considering offering an exclusive sponsorship to an advertiser. 

Social Media
Sponsorship on your social media can add revenue tastefully. Be proud of the social media following that you have, and monetize special sponsorship opportunities based on the size of your following. Also, don’t forget to promote magazine articles and your newsletters on social media. 

Sponsoring Education Programs Within Your LMS

Your educational content can bring in additional non-dues revenue through the sale of sponsorships. The goal is to align your webinars’ content with the appropriate sponsor. Benefits could include offering the opportunity to sit in as a webinar’s host, allowing the sponsor to discuss their company prior to the webinar, an events follow-up email, and ads on your newsletter or website.

Provide More Opportunities and “Extras” at Your Association Events

Leverage your captive audience by offering event extras, upgrades, special pricing through your AMS and event sponsorships to find even more gems!

Event Extras, Upgrades and Special Pricing Through AMS

While accepting payments for online registrants, these technologies can help generate non-dues revenue beyond the basic ticket sales. You can suggest upsell items, similar to what an Amazon cart might suggest, including DVDs or T-shirts, supplemental literature for the event, exhibit booth sales or even sponsorship sales. Additionally, you can offer different pricing options for members, nonmembers or different types of members.

Nontraditional Events

Virtual Career Fairs held in tandem with your live event can also help generate revenue. They have lower overhead costs yet still offer the same excellent networking opportunities and draw larger talent pools by attracting candidates interested in roles located outside their current cities.

Exchange events are hosted buyer events bringing buyers and sellers together for a few days at a popular destination like a resort, typically added as a complement to an existing trade show. The model is simple – suppliers pay a fee for a guaranteed number of 20-minute meetings with buyers. Buyer representatives are key decision makers who may not typically walk the show floor and may be more difficult to access, giving attendees a chance to establish and build relationships.

Event Sponsorships

Every association needs its traditional sponsorship packages, but you should think creatively and collaboratively to work with your sponsors, like possibly co-creating an event. Figure out what the sponsors are seeking to achieve and, in that process, you could find that their goals align well with your organization’s goals and objectives. Leverage photo booths, wellness breaks or classes, interactive activities or pop-up food carts so sponsors can engage at unexpected places in the show.

Hidden in plain sight, there’s a wealth of deeper engagement and more non-dues revenue is just waiting to be tapped into. You just need to know where to look. At Naylor, we’ll guide your association toward generating more revenue from your print and digital communications, events, learning assets, career center and even your association management software. 

Want to discover how we can boost your non-dues revenue? Request a meeting to discuss today!