Many organizations count on non-dues revenue to keep membership fees competitive and to pay operating expenses. Non-dues revenue falls into two categories: internal revenue earned from products and services sold to members and external revenue obtained from vendors, partners, advertisers, and other groups.
As you explore these options, remember to protect your brand identity. Keep advertising tasteful and limit how much can appear in a single opportunity. You don’t want your website looking like the Las Vegas strip or your tradeshow like a flea market!
There are many advertising opportunities in the methods you use to communicate to your membership including your website, newsletter, journal, social media, new member packet, and e-blasts. Sponsored social media posts are growing in popularity. First, create your own social media marketing plan and then decide what ratio of vendor posts is acceptable.
Whether you call it promotional products or organization bling, selling branded merchandise is also an advertising opportunity for your organization. You can drive sales by holding team competitions or by creating a special themed design for each conference. Some promotional product vendors will link an “organization store” to your website that is 100% on-demand. The organization picks which products are made available to your members and receives a percentage of sales.
Create a buyer’s guide on your website where vendors can offer their products. Members benefit from easy access to professional “tools of the trade” while the organization gets a percentage of sales from the vendor.
Depending on the nature of your organization, it may make sense to boost the credibility of your profession, members, and organization by offering a certification program. Developing the program takes time and effort but pays off with certification testing, renewals, and educational offerings.
A job board can be both a member benefit and a revenue source. Just like the big players such as Career Builder and Monster, charge the employer and offer the job seeker free access to listings. The job board may also attract potential new members or sponsors.
Marketers struggle to find the target market to test a product or service and often have to sift through data from a larger audience to find meaningful responses. Your organization’s membership is the target market for the vendors in your industry. Your membership can contribute to market research and take surveys, trial products, or participate in focus groups.
In addition to traditional membership levels, create enhanced memberships that contain valuable perks. Potentially create a premium membership by packaging other benefits with the basic membership such as an enhanced online directory listing, advertising, or event discounts.
Sponsorships have been a critical part of conferences since the logo was invented. Conference sponsorship packages may include a booth and signage, advertising in conference materials, or sponsorship of events like a golf outing, special speaker, or reception. Sponsorships can extend beyond the annual conference by offering a comprehensive package with year-round opportunities, including website, publication, job board, social media, and educational event advertising.
Did you know that Shell Oil was founded in 1833 and first used its logo in 1904? The company was shipping kerosene from London to India, bringing back seashells for sale in the European market, and earning most of its profits from the seashells.
A virtual conference has sessions, panel discussions, webinars, live talks, summits, interviews with industry influencers, social media events, and a trade show just like a live event. They are priced at a rate equal to or less than an in-person professional equivalent and some offer continuing education credits. Several software vendors have software packages that simulate a trade show. Exhibitors can interact with customers, share product information, generate leads, and check out the competition. Key analytics include presentations viewed, viewing length, content downloaded, and responses to polls and surveys. Recordings may be stored on your website where they become a member benefit or an additional source of revenue.
Members need to keep current with advances in your industry. Workshops before or after your conference generate extra revenue and also add flexibility in both conference programming and attendees’ schedules. Your organization may also take a “hot topic” on the road by scheduling it live in several nationwide locations. You are adding a valuable member benefit while generating revenue. Find a sponsor for the educational event to increase its profitability.
The Center for Association Resources helps organizations implement non-dues revenue streams that support their mission and goals. Contact Robert Patterson at (888) 705-1434 for your free, thirty-minute consultation.