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How to Sustain Revenue Through Adversity: Tips for Associations

You want to be sure your associations revenue streams you set up are stable and steady, especially when you’re dealing with unprecedented times.

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Times can get tough for any association, and you don’t want your revenue streams to fall short when you’re already struggling to keep things running smoothly. Generating non-dues revenue is a top priority for almost any association. So, you want to make sure the revenue streams you set up are stable and steady, especially when you’re dealing with other issues at your organization. But how can this be done?

When you can’t rely on membership dues to bring in the money you need, you’ll want to have a good band of revenue opportunities to keep you afloat. So, let’s talk a little bit about how you can prepare your non-dues revenue streams to hold tight in times of major adversity- be it member loss, partnership troubles, crisis, or anything else. There are many ways to prepare yourself to face problems while still keeping revenue streams strong. Keep reading for our tips on how to maintain your money no matter the status of your association.

Prepare before trouble strikes

It’s always good to have a game plan for any situation your association may face, even with your revenue streams. Planning and prepping is the foundation to minimizing damage no matter the crisis that comes up. In order to do this with your revenue, you’ll want to meet with your team to plan and strategize for the worst. If you can put together a process that staff can follow depending on the situation, you’ll have less to worry about when disaster strikes.

For example, let’s take major member loss. If your association loses a large amount of its membership, it’s going to lose a large amount of revenue in the process. But, if you plan for this with backup non-dues revenue streams, marketing plans for those revenue streams, or even a sponsorship plan to turn things around, you’ll minimize your losses in one area and be able to focus on fixing the problem at hand. Let’s break these three ideas down a bit more so your association can better understand how to put plans into action, starting with back-up streams.

Back-up revenue

Having a core base of non-dues revenue streams that your association can rely on is great, but what do you do when you need to bring in more revenue to make up for other losses?T his is where having a stockpile of revenue plans and ideas in place can help.

If you can refer to stored plans on how to start a new stream of revenue, you save yourself time and energy in the long run and solve your problems that much quicker. Some ideas that you can brainstorm with your team and workshop are: Fundraising events, donation campaigns, new content offers, certification courses, webinar subscriptions, and more. By keeping a small list of ideas like this, you can pull something together that’s both effective and valuable, therefore attracting revenue to these new ideas.

Marketing plans

Once you have this list of revenue ideas and you’re ready to put one into action, you’ll want to make sure you market it to audiences in a timely fashion in order to get things rolling as soon as possible. In the midst of a problem or crisis, your association doesn’t have much time to sit around and brainstorm a fully fledged marketing campaign. Again, if you can have an outline or brief marketing structure in place to prepare for these things, you’ll save yourself that crucial time you can’t afford to lose. Some marketing campaign ideas you can outline beforehand are things like: scheduled emails, already designed advertisements/creatives, scheduled social media posts, and more. The more work you can do beforehand to save yourself time in the moment, the better. Get your revenue stream marketing up to speed to save stress when needed.

Sponsors and partners

And finally, there’s always the option to start up a new sponsorship or partner with an organization you trust to create a new way to bring in revenue. Sponsorships are a great way to secure a new revenue stream while also bringing more value to the membership benefits you already provide. For associations struggling to keep members engaged, or even those with member loss, sponsorships can act as a double agent for revenue and engagement improvements. For sponsorships and partnerships, you need to make sure the relationship with the partnering organization is strong and symbiotic. If you don’t have a solid base for the offer you’re creating, you could actually do more harm to the revenue you’re bringing in than good.

Stabilizing your non-dues revenue to hold you down in tough times is a great way to lessen the stress your association’s team goes through in a crisis. Try using these tips to keep things steady financially at your organization.