Sourcing Non-Dues Revenue

Sourcing Non-Dues Revenue

By: Amy Sales, CMP

Stellar member benefits encourage membership, but membership dues alone often fail to keep your organization’s finances in the black. Associations can stay out of the red by considering the following non-dues revenue resources.

Educational Programs & Conferences

Educational events typically serve as the biggest fundraiser for associations. These programs allow members to network, acquire required CE, and receive new and actionable information. Associations can encourage early registration to help with budgeting and planning by setting up varying fees, such as members-only rates (to encourage membership) and early, regular, and late registration fees. Conference sponsors are also a great resource. Sponsors can get in front of the professionals they seek while supporting programs that entice additional registrants. These are straightforward ways to bring more revenue and provide member benefits.

Commissionable Contracts

Commissionable contracts are often provided by hotels, or where many associations hold events. Organizations can earn a commission on the number of sleeping rooms reserved. Commissions range in value and can come back to the association as a check or simply taken off the total bill. These contracts increase your program revenue without adding programs.

Members-Only Features

Member benefits increase membership and your bottom line. You can utilize having a large membership and the fact that your membership is within a specific field by providing paid-for services. For example, human resources professionals often turn to members-only job sites to host job posts. Organizations can charge for job posts and advertise that HR will avoid unqualified applicants. Associations can also provide paid advertising on association communications resources (website, newsletter, emails, event programs, etc.).

Associations can also utilize large memberships by negotiating service discounts or funding specific to your members’ professional role. Service discounts can be provided to your members, which encourages membership, or some services can provide funds directly back to the association. These service agreements can add to your organization’s bottom line without too much additional effort. 

Profession Specific Guides

Handbooks, manuals, and pamphlets – oh, my! With the various professional requirements, providing a resource for purchase can help your members find the information they need in one place and provide additional income to your organization.


This is ultimately the most difficult way to bring additional funds to your association. We have all been to our share of silent auctions and “pass the hat” events, and seen many-a-thermometer graphic increase until the funding goal is met. When asking for additional funds, it is imperative to explain how, if the goal is met, it will benefit members. Perhaps this includes more learning or networking opportunities or even furthering your political action committee (PAC) initiatives. Though this is a more involved way to obtain additional revenue for your association, it can still be a helpful tool to grow the bottom line. 

The most important factor to convey to your members with each of the strategies above is the value it will bring to those who participate. At Easter Associates, we can help drive unique and successful revenue building opportunities for your association. If you are looking to grow your bottom line or get assistance in conveying value to your members, reach out and let our team of experts help!