As with any other type of nonprofit, associations need to bring in a lot of funding to cover the costs of operation. Providing services to members—and simply keeping the lights on in your headquarters—is no small task!
While member dues were once able to cover most of these costs, the need for non-dues revenue to make ends meet is rising.
Whether to fund your association’s next adventure or simply to cover overhead expenses, increasing non-dues revenue is important for any organization. Luckily, there are ways to make the process easier using software already in your nonprofit’s toolbox!
We’re going to explore the following tips for increasing non-dues revenue for your association:
- Use your association AMS to gain powerful insights.
- Seek outside funding opportunities.
- Make the most of your association’s website.
- Host events.
- Capitalize on powerful integrations.
Continue reading to learn how to start increasing non-dues revenue to your association right now.
1. Use your AMS to gain powerful insights.
One of the easiest ways to increase non-dues revenue to your organization is by simply making the most of a tool already in your arsenal—your association management software.
Your AMS is the most comprehensive database your association owns, hosting data regarding all interactions between your organization and its members. This data is a valuable tool for discovering and targeting non-dues revenue opportunities.
Consider the following basic example: You’re planning to host a conference to raise non-dues revenue via tickets, sponsorships, etc. Wouldn’t this have the highest attendance, and in turn raise the highest amount of revenue, if it was held in a portion of the country where many members were located? Evaluating data in your AMS can provide that locational information efficiently.
Here are a few tips for using your AMS to gain insights on revenue opportunities:
- Make sure your member data is kept up-to-date and well-organized. Save time and avoid having to “clean” your database manually by choosing an AMS with deduplication and data merge functions.
- Segment your member data by common characteristics, whether that’s location, company size, or even engagement level.
- Seek out revenue opportunities based on these segments, such as the example above.
- Advertise opportunities to the segments of your data most likely to respond, such as those with a recorded history of engagement.
You’re already paying to host such a comprehensive database, so you might as well make the most of its functionality. Using your AMS to inform your non-dues revenue seeking is an easy way to increase your success in the process!
2. Seek outside funding opportunities.
While many non-dues revenue conversations center around gathering extra funds here and there from individual members within your association, there are also opportunities to raise these gifts through larger, more lump-sum approaches.
The most common example of this in the association world is sponsorships, in which a company gives a large sum in return for a public connection with your association. Most often, these sponsorships come from vendor members of your organization. Further, depending on your association type, you might also be able to secure grant funding corresponding to specific projects and outreach initiatives.
Be mindful of power and privilege when accepting sponsorships or grant funding. While this type of funding may be helpful to your association in the moment, remember that the connection built (publicly) between your association and the funder may long outlast the money itself. If the funder isn’t one your association would like to be associated with for years to come, reconsider accepting the revenue.
3. Make the most of your association’s website.
Your website is a powerful tool for communicating with your members, and providing needed information about upcoming opportunities and your association overall. However, did you know you can use it to raise some additional non-dues revenue as well?
Your association’s website is often the first place members look for information. This could mean updates on upcoming events, recommendations on a plethora of topics, blog posts on news affecting members, and even links to opportunities to engage.
It’s one platform in your toolbox that essentially every member encounters at some point—and that reach is a huge selling point for non-dues revenue opportunities. You can raise non-dues revenue on your website by:
- Featured directory listings. If you’re not already hosting some sort of member directory on your website, it’s time to start—and to bring in non-dues revenue through it. Allow members to purchase a featured listing and include information (such as social media links, employee contacts) not offered in non-featured listings.
- Advertising. Sell advertising across your website, either using Google Ad Manager (which takes a commission) or managing it on your own and retaining all of the revenue.
- Sponsorships. Work with an AMS that makes it easy to deliver on sponsorship deals, allowing you to feature sponsors across your website, such as a logo on your homepage, with little coding needed.
- E-Commerce. Embed an e-commerce module directly on your website to sell products and services to your site visitors.
Sell website real estate to increase non-dues revenue to your association. Choosing the right AMS and association website builder can make this process easier, whether by offering powerful integrations (such as ad manager software) or by allowing quick and easy changes with little coding for less tech-savvy users.
4. Host events.
Events are a powerful opportunity to raise non-dues revenue for your association. From initial ticketing and registration to merchandise, learning opportunities, and even event sponsorships, gathering your members in one room presents many options for increasing incoming revenue. And that’s before even considering the value that events bring by advancing and reinvigorating your members!
However, there’s no denying that planning and executing an event successfully is resource-intensive. Planning an event can quickly get out of hand, and you’re only going to actually raise revenue if your association isn’t spending exorbitantly—of both time and money—through the practice.
Work with an AMS that can simplify the event planning process to lessen this burden on your staff. There are a few AMS features that can optimize the management of your next event:
Event Creation Features
Your leadership doesn’t have time to waste on intense coding and CMS navigation when planning an already time-intensive event. Use an AMS that allows for the creation of events with the click of a button, whether complex conferences or simple committee meeting calendar reminders.
Choose an AMS with easily created, yet versatile, ticketing options. Features such as member/non-member pricing, suggested donation amounts, table pricing, and RSVP management allows you to make ticketing as complex or as simple as needed.
Continuing Education Features
Work with an AMS that offers automatic CEU tracking. This removes the stress of manually tracking continuing education credits of each member in attendance.
Events Marketing Features
Make sure you’re working with an AMS that offers email marketing integration. This ensures that you can send automated messaging leading up to the event and even specify these emails to segments within your membership. For example, registered members can receive information regarding attending the event, while still-unregistered members can receive information about purchasing tickets.
Product Add-On Features
Add products to your event registration process, whether that’s purchasing merchandise commemorating the experience or even tickets to an add-on learning event hosted within the larger event.
Using your AMS to manage event planning can track valuable metrics such as the comparison of your event budget and revenue, or even event registration year over year for recurring experiences.
Visit Novi for more information on what to look for in an AMS.
5. Capitalize on powerful integrations.
They’ve been briefly mentioned already—but if you’re not capitalizing on the many powerful integrations hopefully offered by your AMS solution, you might be missing out on a great resource for obtaining non-dues revenue.
In the simplest terms, your AMS functions as one huge database of all of your member data. This data is valuable for the insights it provides, both to your staff and to the other software platforms you use to manage your association.
Creating a clean connection between your AMS and your other digital tools makes a streamlined path for this data to follow. This could look like contact information and preferences filtering into your email marketing software instead of transferring the information manually, saving time and energy. Or, it could look like event attendance and revenue metrics flowing from your event management software into your AMS and, eventually, your accounting tool.
There are a few AMS integrations that are particularly helpful when it comes to increasing incoming non-dues revenue:
- Association LMS. This is the tool that you’re probably using for all continuing education and professional development of your members. (If you’re not, learn more here.) Compiling that data in your AMS allows you to easily discover which members might be open to further educational opportunities.
- Email marketing software. As mentioned above, an AMS integration with your email marketing software not only adds intention to your non-dues revenue outreach but also saves your association’s leadership time.
- Accounting software. Once non-dues revenue starts coming into your organization, it’s important that it’s logged correctly in your accounting software. By integrating your AMS and an accounting tool—such as QuickBooks—you’ll automatically send data between the two systems for quick logging of information.
Check out this Novi guide for more essential AMS integrations to power your organization.
While member dues were once enough to keep an association running, non-dues revenue is becoming necessary to make ends meet.
Use the above five tips, aided by helpful software already in your toolbox, to increase incoming non-dues revenue for your association.