April 29, 2020

Association Executives from over 40 Associations attend Presidential Forum Virtual Roundtable to discuss Non-Dues Revenue Growth – what has your Association done [or tried to do] to grow top line revenue and bottom line results?

This was another amazing discussion among Association Membership and Marketing Directors on April 29, 2020 for the Presidential Forum Roundtable via Zoom Web-conference.  The peer-to-peer discussion was moderated by Kimberly Hall, Director of Membership, National Association of Counties (NACo) and Karim Guirguis, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, American Bankruptcy Institute

The discussion started with a quick Poll of the attendees to determine what level of non-dues revenue the attendees are already engaged in.  The group was evenly split with about a third having revenue of less than 25% in categories other than Dues and Annual Conference.  Another third of the attendees had diversified 26-50% of their revenue outside of Dues and Annual Conference, and another third had more than 50% from outside of these core activities.  The second Poll question asked if attendees were currently working on an initiative to increase non-dues revenue by 10% or more.  About half were doing so, and the other half were not currently engaged in a new initiative.  The third Poll question asked the attendees if they had previously implemented a new activity for revenue growth, and if so, how long did it take to become successful?  About half said it took 1-3 years to achieve success.  A quarter said it took less than 1 year, and a quarter said it took more than 3 years.  Therefore, based on the Poll, we had a very broad representation of Associations when it came to non-dues revenue experience.

Attendees shared various stories about their non-dues revenue activities including business services to organization members, health and safety certification for organization members, staging virtual small and large group meeting for members with opportunity for sponsorships.  Several Associations commented on new opportunities for sponsorship revenue due to Covid-19 because vendors and associate members are seeing greater value in the virtual events hosted by the Association as a way to be in front of the membership.

Many Association spoke about how their research and data are important under-monetized assets of the organization.  One Association started a subscriptions program of their content and expanded the paid readership beyond its organization members by successfully offing it to the employees of those member  organizations who were not members.   Several Associations indicated that they have opened up their content for free to members during the Covid-19 crisis, but see an opportunity to monetize those research/data assets in the future as members begin to appreciate more its value.  One Association spun-off four different business activities into for-profit entities because of their success – this was largely based upon taking the Association’s data and research and making it more easily accessible to members and non-members alike on a fee basis.

Our sponsor was FUSE Search which is a company specialized in content visualization for Associations.  The premise is using key Search Words to allow users (members, non-members, employees) to pull data on the Association’s website from all sources – AMS, LMS, communities (e.g., Higher Logic), social media.   Adam Hostetter, CEO, did a brief demo showing examples of other Associations who currently utilize the FUSE Search solution.  This fit in well with the discussion about monetization of the Association’s data as an important non-dues revenue source.  For more information contact Adam Hostetter at adam@fusesearch.comfor Johnny Clayton, Client Engagement Success, at johnny@fusesearch.com

DELIVERY METHOD: Group live presented online due to COVID-19