This month, we asked our readers which source of non-dues revenue they plan to improve this year. The results were somewhat similar to those when we asked this question in previous years:
Half of respondents cited continuing education as their primary non-dues revenue focus. As we’ve talked about before, there are plenty of ways for associations to earn cash from selling access to educational resources. Live or online courses can command a premium fee; evergreen resources such as books or course packs, recorded webinars or subscriptions to premium publications can also earn an association steady income.
The next most-common answers to our poll were publications advertising and affinity programs. Allowing ads in your association’s member magazine, annual directory, daily newsletter or annual conference app gives your sponsors and supplier members additional access to an audience they covet – the smart, influential decision-makers who make up your membership. Ad revenue benefits your association by padding your operational budget and affording additional membership perks, staff benefits and programming.
Affinity programs can benefit associations by allowing organizations to earn money through service providers your members would use anyway. It’s a business partnership in which your members receive a special rate for a product or service, and the business usually shares a portion of member-generated revenue back with your association. Given some marketing attention, affinity programs can be a reliable source of steady income for associations. Read more about choosing the right type of affinity program .
Finally, a small portion of our readers said they plan to improve funding through grants this year. Grants typically require a modest-to-heavy amount of work upfront, to prove that your association has a solid plan for spending grant money in pursuit of a goal, but the payoff can be quite large and span years. You can find a grant that supports almost any cause. Check out this guide to finding and applying for nonprofit grants, then read how associations are using grants to push the envelope on innovation, membership benefits and events.
However you plan to improve your association’s non-dues revenue sources this year, it’s definitely time to hustle! We’re almost halfway through 2018. Now’s the time to lay a solid foundation for funding for year-end initiatives, as well as projects for 2019.