Creating community is what association members value most, but the reality is that revenue is critical to an association’s survival. One quick way to dissolve a sense of community is to dump dues and fees on your members just to raise the bottom line. So, how do you balance paying the bills and growing the association without putting the financial burden on members?
Sometimes, new marketing strategies are a sound way to increase revenue. Here are our tips for five ways to increase revenue without raising dues. These revenue-generating tools increase the bottom line without putting your member benefits on the sidelines.
1. Reinventing Sponsorships
Selling sponsorships is a great way to diversify traditional income sources and increase community engagement. The best potential for valuable sponsorships comes from businesses that align with the organization’s goals and offer products and services that advance members’ careers and industries.
These sponsorship relationships can be a win-win for the association and the sponsor. While sponsors spend money with your association, they directly reach members readily interested in purchasing their products or services. Some sponsors highlight the association they sponsor on their website, improving their reputation and profile outside of the business.
Sponsorship opportunities can range from contributing to a particular event or program, pages on a website, guest speakers or online banners and webinars. The most promising sponsorships stem from businesses that share the organization’s objectives and offer meaningful avenues to propel members forward.
2. Paid Advertisement
Similar to sponsorships, offering advertising opportunities can build up revenue outside of membership dues for associations or member organizations. This additional revenue can also help fuel the bill for limited marketing budgets.
Associations can open paid advertising opportunities on existing marketing collateral, such as the organization’s website, newsletters (both electronic and printed) and social media. Digital advertising can also widen the net of possible businesses interested in advertising to members.
Advertising doesn’t have to be a one-way street. For example, in return for advertising with an association, many businesses offer discounts to members to use their products. For example, companies such as Office Depot, Xerox and Dell offer product and technology discounts to members of the American Bar Association (ABA).
3. Enhancing Event Marketing
Associations usually gain revenue from their annual meetings, but these valuable events that provide opportunities for members to meet and build relationships do not have to occur only once a year. Associations can benefit from building on their annual events by providing additional event marketing opportunities.
For example, recordings from the annual meetings can be repackaged for sales content. Repeat sessions or follow-up meetings and add-on events can be added if a particular topic received high engagement and interest from members. Regional and virtual events are other excellent ways for associations and member organizations to step up their event marketing.
Not all events require large-scale production, such as conferences and yearly galas. These additional events benefit the many members who cannot travel or attend one-time events. You may find that attendance is higher, and participants are more engaged at non-traditional events. After the event is over, assess the success and money raised compared to past or existing marketing efforts to improve fundraising in the future.
4. Online education and training
Maximizing member benefits while increasing revenue is a win-win, and members have always looked to associations to learn more, build their experience and expand their network in their industry and interests.
Additionally, many people are shifting to new jobs and careers and look to associations to show them how to become more involved and hirable in their industry. This unlocks the door for organizations to sell online education and certifications to increase non-revenue dues.
Offering online education and training is an excellent way to build revenue. This could include:
- Creating a robust job board
- Lunch-and-learn events
- Certificates and accreditation programs
- Live online events
A great example of an association that raises funds through online education is the American Marketing Association (AMA). On their membership page, you will see a group photo that shows a tone of community and a list of member benefits, such as certifications, toolkits and training.
5. Good, old-fashioned sales
Your association’s bread and butter may still benefit by hitting the road and selling the association the good, old-fashioned way. This means considering traditional sales methods.
Consider the assets of the association and look to existing members’ skills. For example, is there a member who can create an eBook to sell online through the association’s website? Or does the association have space for rent for other organizations’ meetings? Some organizations may benefit from selling branded merchandise. Plus, members who wear the association’s logo also expand the association’s brand reach.
Staying creative and seeking revenue from sales that align with the interests and strategic goals of the association is one way to increase revenue without raising dues.
Keep your association thriving with additional revenue streams
Associations and membership organizations are growing their bottom lines by finding funds from other sources instead of relying solely on membership dues. Pursuing fresh avenues for raising money without burdening members is a great way to meet financial obligations, move forward with strategic initiatives and enhance membership engagement.
Prioritize the fundraising methods that serve the association’s goals and existing marketing plan. Also, consider who on the team can push forward and steer the new fundraising strategies through to completion.
Uptimize serves as a reliable collaborator for associations looking for additional revenue sources. Our customized solutions and expert guidance are tailored to build up membership growth, garner attention and establish the association as an industry frontrunner. To learn more about how Uptimize can help your association, reach out for a no-obligation free consultation.