Blog posting date icon
min read

5 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Non-Dues Revenue Flow

Finding ways to increase your non-dues revenue that work for your association shouldn’t be that hard, but what about keeping that revenue continually flowing...

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

There are hundreds of ideas out there for increasing your non-dues revenue sources. Finding ones that work for your association shouldn’t be that hard, but what about keeping that revenue continually flowing? In truth, no revenue source will stay the same, even membership dues. As member numbers fluctuate, so does the amount of revenue created by them. The same goes for non-dues revenue. How can your association tackle the challenge of keeping non-dues revenue sources fresh? Here are some tips and tricks to keep non-dues revenue flowing in.

1. Fill in the gaps

Most likely, your association has seasonal revenue sources. Maybe you make more revenue in the summer or your event attendance increases during the spring. Whenever it may be, don't let your non-dues revenue dip in the off seasons. Your association should plan out non-dues revenue for each season.

Take a closer look at your highest grossing non-dues revenue source. Is it event attendance, merchandise, or maybe a job board? Is there a particular month when revenue peaks? Or a time you notice a significant decrease? See if it correlates with your overall non-dues revenue trends.

Once you pinpoint your best and worst seasons for non-dues revenue, brainstorm ways to keep non-dues revenue constant through the year. Maybe you need to host more off-season events or host webinars during lower-revenue months. Look at which sources are doing bad. Are merchandise sales down? Is event attendance suffering? If that’s the case, then maybe change up what you do. Spend less on events when attendance is low and more on education certification programs when they’re doing better.

Every association is different. Not every revenue source works the same for each association or even associations similar in size or location. Focus on what works for your association.

2. Restart your current sources

If filling in the gaps isn’t enough, your association can improve already existing sources. Your current sources of non-dues revenue can be as successful as they were at the beginning with a little help from your association.

Offer rewards for membership participation. Host different types of events in place of ones that are not driving enough revenue. Produce and publish more content about what your association is doing and how members can get involved. Make sure your newsletter, social media, and website are up-to-date and are regularly updated. Keeping your members up to date will get them to engage more with your association, which can then lead to an increase in non-dues revenue. Trying new things to jumpstart current non-dues revenue sources can restart your association's revenue flow.

3. Go back to your roots

For most members, the purpose of joining an association is to network and interact with other professionals. Your association provides those sources for your members, but it might need to remind them.

If your members become less active, make sure your events are still network oriented. Are you providing them with enough opportunities to connect with other members? Is there more your association could be doing? Make sure members interact with each other as much as possible. Get people talking! One way to do so is to have assigned seating at events. Put people together who possibly haven't had the opportunity to interact. Face-to-face interaction is the best way to network and form long term professional relationships.

Have more opportunities for members to come together. Host both professional and fun events for members. Have a silent auction, Host a conference, create events that get people in the same room.

4. Ask your members

Whether from donations or event attendance, your members are the biggest non-dues revenue source you have. So, ask them about what they want. Knowing what your members want from your association helps keep them happy with their membership and leads to more membership renewals. Happy members also lead to more membership referrals. Feedback is always helpful. Getting feedback doesn’t seem like a hard task, but it can be.

You can start by sending a survey of recent events or asking what members want from your association that they're not getting. If you need help with what to write, here’s some great strategies for connecting with members in writing.

However, what do you do if you don’t get enough feedback from your members? Try different methods of reaching members, like using social media to get feedback. Maybe your members don’t respond to surveys in the mail but will accept a Facebook invite or a request to rate your Facebook page. Maybe your members respond better in person at events. Set up a suggestion box at your conferences and trade shows. Get your feedback in person. Keep experimenting with feedback and you will find a method that works for your association.

Once you get feedback, take frequently suggested changes and put them into effect. Membership should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Make sure you and your members are content. Find a balance between what your members want and what your association wants by asking for member feedback.

5. Try new approaches

If your association’s current revenue sources aren’t working, there are plenty of non-dues revenue approaches. Your association may need to try different sources. There are many creative ideas of non-dues revenue sources to choose from. Some examples include: Sponsorship, educational opportunities, merchandise, or adding a job board to your website. You can learn more about these sources here!

Look into each new idea. Your members may respond better to different ideas, but you can predict the best idea by researching your buyer's persona. Look at what they respond to now and see if there’s any similar non-dues revenue source available.

Although your association will be different than other associations, if you see that a method works for multiple associations there’s no harm in trying it. Trying new sources could lead to finding your best non-dues revenue source. It’s best to have several current sources of non-dues revenue for your association. Using these tips could help  your association stabilize and rejuvenate your non-dues revenue sources.