Blog posting date icon
min read

6 Sources of Non-Dues Revenue Your Association Should Be Trying

We've got six different ways to create and increase non-dues revenue at your association.

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

Association dues are a dependable and steady form of income, but on average they make up only 39% of an association’s total revenue. That other 61% is where non-dues revenue comes in.

There are two types of non-dues revenue associations can pursue: external and internal. External sources include revenue from outside of the association coming from vendors or advertisers. Internal non-dues revenue is generated by charging members additional fees for things like online webinars, events, professional certifications, association branded merchandise, and more. It is best practice to create a healthy balance of both internal and external non-dues revenue streams.

There are several different ways to create and increase non-dues revenue at your association, but here are six different sources your association should try pursuing.


1. Advertisements

Advertisements are a great external source of non-dues revenue. Your association can offer advertising space to other companies or organizations.

There are plenty of platforms where you can offer advertising space. Your association’s website or social media serves as an online advertising space. Using banner programs or Google Adsense allows your association's website to become monetized. 

Your association can provide physical advertising space to vendors and companies, as well. For example, you can provide space for companies to put our displays or banners at your association's event. Allowing companies to include advertisements in handouts or flyers included in member packages serves as another source of external non-dues revenue.


2. Events and fundraising

Your association most likely hosts events already, but are you using them as a source of non-dues revenue? 

There are hundreds of different types of events your association could host. Galas, auctions, trade shows, and conferences being just a few examples. Having an entrance fee or selling tickets to events is definitely an option for generating non-dues revenue. 

Hosting a tournament is also another non-dues revenue source your association can take advantage of. It could be a golf tournament or any type of competition. You can require an entry fee for those who wish to compete and sell tickets to those who want to attend. 

Another option would be to allow space for companies to have booths or displays at your events. Try and find companies that deal with your association’s field and provide valuable products or services to your members. 

You could also have other fundraising opportunities at your events like raffles and door prizes.


3. Sponsorships

For a more consistent stream of non-dues revenue, your association can pursue sponsorships. Sponsorships could include offers like year-round or seasonal access to members at conferences, advertising on newsletters, or tabling at networking events.

Sponsorship is really just based on companies having access to an associations' members. There’s no limit to how many sponsors your association can have and it can be a real revenue driver. The International Society of Automation more than doubled its sponsorship revenue in 2010, from $215,000 to $456,000, with a new sponsorship package.

The way sponsorship works best is if the relationship benefits all parties. Check-in periodically with your members through polls and questionnaires to see if you need to make adjustments. 


4. Merchandise sales

Selling merchandise with your association’s logo or branding is a great non-dues revenue generator. Some merchandise ideas include T-shirts, water bottles, notebooks, pins, or stickers. Just make sure that branding and messaging are clear.

Merchandise puts an association's brand out into the world. It's essentially a form of advertising that keeps on giving. Your association’s logo will be in more places with more people seeing it. As your members interact with other potential members, branded merchandise gives you another avenue to spread the word about your association.

You having a merchandise booth at events is one way you can sell your merchandise. Another would be an online store. It can be set up through your website or even through a Pinterest page. Your association could sell merchandise year-round and thus generate more revenue.


5. Job board

Creating a job board on your website gives you another source of non-dues revenue, but it also serves as a member benefit. Members then have a place to find tailored and industry-specific job postings. In addition, a job board can drive more organic traffic to an associations' website.

With the addition of a job board, employers would pay to post available opportunities directly to your job board. Members and other job seekers can also upload their resumes and search for jobs through the site.

These job boards are installed and managed by job board software companies. Some job boards provide flat fees per job posting while others offer revenue share.

Don't have the funds to pay set-up fees for a job board? Web Scribble offers job boards with absolutely no set-up fee. Discover Job Board Software for Associations


6. Educational opportunities

A source of internal non-dues revenue is providing educational opportunities for your members. Maybe it's in the form of a lunch and learns or workshop.

Your members are career-driven professionals and they want to further their professional career. Offering webinars or e-books on industry-specific topics for small registration fees serve as a source for revenue and as a member benefit.

Offering certification for skills necessary in your association’s field is also a great non-dues revenue source. Your association can help members better their skill set while also improving the field simultaneously.

Non-dues revenue can be a beneficial and additional source of revenue for your association. With non-dues revenue, it's essential to remember the effort for additional member benefits like events and webinars helps both the association and its members. 

Don’t put all your non-dues revenue eggs in one basket! One source might make your association more revenue, but you don’t want to rely on just that. If you diversify your non-dues revenue streams, if one source suddenly takes a hit, the others will be there to make up for it.