The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence of Non-Dues Revenue
Membership dues fund membership organizations. However, these membership dues do not cover the operating expense of the association. In a recent survey, association respondents reported membership dues comprised only 39% of total revenue (Growth Zone 2022).
So, how do associations generate non-dues revenue? Prior to 2020, many associations derived most non-dues revenue from in-person, professional development programs, trade shows, and conferences. Corporate sponsorship of these in person events produced additional non-dues revenue for associations.
Post-2020, after suffering huge economic losses, associations are looking for strategies to further diversify sources of non-dues revenue. We have compiled suggested considerations for association executives to explore when evaluating non-dues revenue (NDR) strategies.
Kickstart Your NDR With These 5 Questions
- How will this NDR Strategy enhance member benefits?
The revenue associated with a NDR strategy is important. Consider how a NDR strategy may also enhance the value proposition of member benefits. Explore how the NDR strategy can also be leveraged as a tangible benefit for members. Seek NDR providers who can deliver both an ongoing revenue stream and member-enhancing sources of NDR.
- What is the cost?
This is not simply a dollar and cents question. This is also a human capital and resource allocation question. Make sure you review the financial costs, along with staffing costs to start, maintain, and nurture your NDR strategy. Identifying providers who offer “turnkey” NDR strategies will help associations avoid adding more “to-dos” for staff.
- Who will do the work?
Will the internal association staff build and manage the NDR strategy? If not, who will take on the responsibilities of the strategy? How will ROI of NDR strategy be collected and reported? These are critical considerations to the success of your NDR strategy. Look for NDR providers who have experience and provide a detailed plan for strategy deployment, clearly identified roles and responsibilities along with regular revenue reconciliation and reporting. Providers offering this level of support will simplify the launch of the NDR strategy and set your association up for success.
- Who will market the NDR Strategy?
One must promote the value of a NDR strategy to their members. Who will create the marketing content for the NDR strategy? What cadence will be used in marketing the NDR strategy? How will marketing ROI be determined and by whom? How can the NDR strategy be marketed to highlight the benefits to your members? Determine which NDR strategies sources offer full-service, co-branded marketing, content creation, and routine reporting on marketing ROI.
- Double Dip Opportunities for NDR Strategy
Consider NDR strategies and providers who will also contribute revenue through the purchase of print and digital advertising, and corporate event sponsorships. This is what I call the “double dip.” Not only can associations realize NDR revenue from strategies but the providers themselves can be a source of revenue. Association endorsement of NDR products and services is compensable. Inquire about marketing spend when evaluating both the NDR strategy and the provider.
Associated Benefits Consulting is here to help!
Our staff of association and affinity plan experts have extensive experience working with associations and planning non-dues revenue strategies that have generated over $100 Million for our clients! Better yet, our online, thriving member marketplace offers over 20 products and services tailored to meet your members’ needs. To learn more give us a call at 1-877-799-2225 or reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.