Strategies for driving non-dues revenue for your association

Tirrah Switzer

February 16, 2022

    Taking a strategic approach to driving non-dues revenue might seem challenging. But it doesn’t have to be.  

    Read on for proven techniques and technologies that will help you boost your non-dues revenue in no time. 

    people shaking hands in business attireDriving non-dues revenue is critically important to your association’s long-term success. It helps smooth out the bumps in the financial road.  

    When memberships are flat or declining, raising the cost of membership dues is not the answer. Bringing in non-dues revenue helps you maintain your budget during these times while allowing you to provide your members with continued value. 

    The 2021 Association Trends Study by Community Brands shows that associations recognize the need to diversify their revenue streams. Association professionals who responded to the study’s survey say they plan to turn to new forms of non-dues revenue more than other means to address any revenue losses from the past year.

    Strategies for driving non-dues revenue

    Taking a strategic approach to driving non-dues revenue might seem challenging. Especially when you’re focused on retaining and growing membership dues by increasing membership and improving member retention (the top two most important activities in the coming year according to association professionals in the 2021 Association Trends Study).  

    But with a few proven techniques and the right technologies to support them, you can boost your non-dues revenue in no time. 

    Here are some ideas:

    • Set up a state-of-the-art online store.
      You can sell multiple items to your members – everything from events to subscriptions to branded merchandise to training and certification courses. Building an online store that offers a modern online shopping experience can go a long way toward driving sales.Nimble AMS by Community Brands includes functionality to help you set up an online store that offers a modern user experience while giving your staff flexibility on how your association sells merchandise. For example, Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) uses Nimble AMS to power an online store for companies to purchase exhibit booths, sponsorships, and supplies for MDS’s Yankee Dental Congress, one of the top three dental meetings in the U.S, which attracts about 28,000 attendees each year from around the world.Nimble AMS capabilities include:  
      • Simple, quick configuration – Your staff can configure the site easily with drag-and-drop technology and no need to write code.
      • A modern user experience Members can make purchases and complete transactions in a familiar online shopping experience. Your members have become accustomed to experiences like these in most areas of their lives, and they’ll expect a similar experience with your organization.  
      • Flexibility – Your organization can sell multiple product types and allow store visitors to filter their views so they can easily find what they want.
    • Cross-sell.
      One of the best times to sell a member something is when they’re already purchasing something online. They’re in the buying mood and open to complementary suggestions of other things to buy.  Nimble AMS includes cross-sell/up-sell functionality that makes it easy for your staff to suggest items to customers by building a set of related products relevant to the item the customer just placed in the shopping cart. The related products can be events, courses, product, subscriptions, memberships, and more. 


    • Get predictive.
      Predictive analytics allows organizations to create deeper relationships with people by predicting their interests and behaviors, and providing them with timely, relevant content and offers that boost engagement and lead to greater sales and loyalty. Here are some ways you can use predictive analytics to drive non-dues revenue:

      • Create a familiar (and effective) Amazon-like shopping experience that recommends new purchases based on past behaviors and “what other members like you purchased”
      • Improve registration for your events by using predictive analytics to determine which event locations will bring in the highest number of registrations and what time to open registration for your events
      • Increase revenue from your professional education program by predicting which members are most likely to register for a specific course or certificate program and then target your educational content by recommending relevant offerings.
      • Project future fundraising results by predicting which members will donate and how much they will give. 

    Using Nimble AMS Predictions in Nimble AMS, you can easily get started with predictive analytics to drive non-dues revenue using these techniques. 

    TIP: Find out more about how predictive analytics and artificial intelligence can help your association deliver more targeted messages, plan more successful programs, and provide better overall service for your members. Watch the on-demand, 20-minute webinar, Deep-dive Demo: Nimble AMS Predictions. 

    • Make purchases easier.
      When customers are ready to buy, make it easy on them so you won’t lose the sale. Here are some ways that Nimble AMS helps you create a great e-commerce experience: person getting a gift out of a mobile phone
      • Stored payment option – Your customers can check out without needing to enter their credit card information every time they make a purchase
      • Account updating – You can automatically update the expiration date for stored payment methods. This way, members won’t be rejected at check-out just because their credit card date expired
      • Express payment option – You can generate a unique payment URL for any order with a balance due: membership, donations, event registration, etc. Then, a bill paying page is created for easy payment by the member, their assistant, accounting department, or anyone making the payment on their behalf. 


    • Get creative.
      There are many ways to develop new non-dues revenue streams for your association. It can be about developing completely new revenue streams. Or, it might just be about expanding on what your organization is already doing.Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
      • Sell branded merchandise.
        You’ve probably seen examples of associations selling coffee mugs, T-shirts, or baseball caps with their logo. But the sky is the limit on branded merchandising. Nearly anything you can think of can be branded for your association, so think outside the box for ideas that members will love. For example, some associations develop calendars and holiday cards that feature members’ photography or artwork. 
      • Invest in your training and certification programs.
        In the 2021 Association Trends Study, two thirds of members say they’re required to take professional education and training courses to comply with industry standards. Of those members, most turn to their employer or their professional organization for education and training. The study also shows that members are interested in more learning options than their professional organization currently offers. So, take time to review your training and certification programs. Offer new ways to engage members in a variety of year-round learning opportunities to address members’ budgets, schedules, educational and certification needs, and learning preferences.
      • Offer an online career center.
        Your membership base offers valuable, skilled candidates for recruiters. Employers will pay to advertise job openings on your association’s job board. Offering a job board also provides an added benefit by helping your association make connections with companies that might be good prospects for sponsorships and advertising packages.
      • Offer year-round sponsorship and advertising opportunities.
        You might already offer sponsorship packages for your annual conference. But why stop there? Provide integrated sponsorship packages, complete with year-round opportunities. These packages could include conference sponsorships as well as advertising opportunities via publications, job boards, social media, educational events, and online member community. 

    TIP: Discover more ideas for driving non-dues revenue: Read the guide, The Ultimate Guide to Generating Non-dues Revenue: 7 Great Ideas for Associations.

    Take the next step toward generating non-dues revenue.
    When you need to drive non-dues revenue, Nimble AMS gives you the technology foundation you need to put the approaches in this article to work. Learn more: Explore Nimble AMS. 

    Ready for more tips to generate Non-dues Revenue?

    Download The Ultimate Guide to Generating Non-dues Revenue today for 7 Great Ideas for Associations.

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