Your Non-Dues Revenue Strategy
“Non-Dues Revenue” is a buzz word these days. Professional associations, and other not-for-profits, are trying to generate the revenue they require to meet their members’ expectations of programming, service, and growth while revenue streams, including membership, seem to be shrinking as the competition for people’s attention, loyalty, and engagement increases exponentially across all the given things an individual can be doing at any given time.
What are “non-dues revenue?”
Your organization is likely engaged in a number of these activities already whether they are innovative and successful, or not. Very few organizations can exist these days solely on membership dues.
Conferences, seminars, and workshops are an effective way to create value for members, attract new members, and raise the association’s profile, and the industry or profession it represents, while earning revenue from registration fees.
Sponsorship and advertising are also common types of non-dues revenue activities. Associations leverage their membership base to corporations seeking to raise their profile and engage with the association’s members.
Other common activities include selling online courses, trade shows, accreditation, books, consulting services, and research.
What your organization is doing is not as important as how strategically is it being done to maximize the return on investment for the association, and the value generated for the membership and other stakeholders.
If you don’t have a business plan, or your business model does not consider sustainability, risk, or how revenues support and further your mission, maybe it’s time to ask some critical questions to assess the current and future success and profitability of your revenue strategies.
For any development strategy, a Needs Analysis, Risk Assessment, and Competitive Analysis will help you accurately determine overall funding considerations such as organizational requirements, member needs and expectations, outcomes, rationales, benefits, criteria for success, resource allocation, sources of revenue, risks inherit in receiving and not having certain levels of funding, and frameworks for evaluation. These assessments will also help you determine the best course of action. For example, are you utilizing sponsorship opportunities to your best advantage? Do you understand the lifecycle of the options you choose to consider? Are you evaluating the impacts of your program(s) on all stakeholders, your industry, and your organization?
I don’t want it to sound complicated, or like too much work, but with good information, and a strong understanding of your organization’s capacity and propensity regarding revenue sources and needs, you will be able to strengthen your association’s strategic vision by being able to make effective investments of time energy and resources towards the revenue streams that best serve your members, your mission, and your capability for success.
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