Put Your AMS to Work Earning Non-Dues Revenue

By Nate Brown • October 15, 2018

Most of us know that membership software is designed to make association processes easier and more automated, but did you know that your AMS could earn your association essential non-dues revenue? All software platforms offer a different mix of opportunities, and your association management software (AMS) likely possesses several key mechanisms for revenue generation that go above and beyond basic member dues collection. If you’re using AMS software anyway, why not truly put it to work for you? Let’s take a look at some of the options for turning your existing database and website into a finely-tuned engine for driving revenue.

Event Registration Extras

First, look to what is typically the most heavily-utilized module in your AMS – the event registration tools intertwined with the member database and website – to help you earn non-dues revenue. The event module allows you to accept payments online for registrants interested in attending your events, but additional tools within the module could generate non-dues revenue beyond basic ticket sales. One option is offering upsell items (similar to what an Amazon cart would suggest), which can include physical items such as t-shirts, literature, sponsorships or exhibit booth sales.

Additionally, you can offer different pricing options for members, nonmembers, or different types of members. All sessions or breakouts held during your event can be included within the registration process, and those sessions can have an additional cost tied to their attendance. Each of these event module options can help your association gain additional revenue while providing the best possible benefits to your members, potential attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.

Group Memberships

Beyond the ability to manage member dues, your AMS might provide “group” or “committee” modules which offer the capability of accepting dues from individuals joining committees, subchapters, special interest groups, subscriptions, or any other groups established within your database. Each group can be tied to its own webpage within your association’s website, and may have the option to upload materials for the members of that group to download that present physical and tangible benefits for remaining an active member. Membership term lengths can also be assigned within each group, so that dues information for each group is able to remain up-to-date in real time.

Member Directory/Online Member Search

A third option for generating revenue through your AMS is through the online member search function, or online member directory. This is the module within a system that allows a member – or anyone visiting your association’s website, depending on your preference – to search for a member based on location, name or category. A number of AMS systems include the option to allow members to enhance their listing, which presents a monetization opportunity. Set a cap for the number of search categories under which a member can list themselves, then enable the member to exceed that cap for a predetermined cost per additional designation. For example, your association might allow each member to select two categories to attach to themselves, but if they’d like additional exposure through more applicable categories, allow them to purchase added designations within their member profile area.

Your member search may also have a “premier listing” option, which brings the member’s listing to the top of any relevant search for a fee. Lastly, you can establish a fee for the member to upload a picture or GIF to be attached to their listing.

Job Boards

One more element that can help your association earn revenue is the online job board. The online job board module enables your members to advertise available openings at their company with the goal of filling those positions with members of your association or visitors to your website. Pricing levels are typically configurable on a member-type basis. For example, your association may offer different rates for primary members, affiliate members, and non-members. In doing so, you can tailor your AMS-powered job board to provide free or reduced-cost listings for some members while maximizing the revenue potential for others member types (or non-members).

Make Your AMS Work for Your Non-Dues Revenue Needs

Once configured and shared with your members, these AMS features can provide your association with a form of passive income to help reach its operating and programming goals, all without increasing member dues. The best part of all the options available to you is perhaps the simplest – they are all fully automated within your AMS. Once initially set up within your system, members will be able to access and purchase these enhanced member benefits at any time on their own, without a staff member having to be involved directly in every transaction. Try one or more of these AMS-fueled non-dues revenue-earning options and see how much more your AMS can work for your association.

About The Author

Nate Brown is a director of business development for SaaSsolutions at Naylor Association Solutions.