Everybody’s Due-ing It! Ideas to Drive Non-Dues Revenue

May 13, 2019
Close up of sprouts growing out of a coin jar

Associations are always looking for new and creative ways to drive additional non-dues revenue. At a recent Association Forum SIG Summit event, Blue Sky Client Success Manager, Kara Adams, joined a group of association executives as they crowdsourced ideas to drive non-dues revenue. We hope by sharing the ideas below, that you’ll be inspired to try some of these out within your own organization. Anything you think we are missing? Comment below!


Education and learning can be big drivers of association non-dues revenue. Selling conference recordings and courses can seem pretty obvious and straightforward, but what else?

  1. Podcasts! You’ve probably listened to one before. Heck, you may listen to them daily! So why not develop podcast series for your members? You can start from scratch, but you don’t have to. One idea is to take the “Best of the Best” from session recordings and convert those soundbites into a series.
  2. Offer live webinars for free in order to create buzz and drive attendance, but charge a fee for the on-demand recording, any resources, bonus content, or in order to receive continuing education credit after the event concludes.
  3. Offer online practice tests for certificate/certification examinations. These could be created using old or expired test questions from previous exams.
  4. Create product bundles. One idea is to create by theme or topic that combine old and new content – whether you’re selling conference recordings as catalogs by tracks or bundling different types of content together, such as recordings, live webinars, and courses that all fall under the same category. Another idea is to create pre- or post-conference webinar bundles, such as the top five most popular sessions from a previous conference as webinars to keep the buzz and excitement going.
  5. Offer add-on pre- and post-conference workshops and courses.
  6. Sell supplemental learning materials like eBinders, journals, and study guides.
  7. License content or revenue share content with partner associations and educational institutions.

Career Development

Developing a career is important to many of your members – important enough that they are probably willing to pay for certain things in order to help develop and advance themselves. Aside from typical online education (see above) this could include:

  1. Self-assessments to support professional development and career transitions, including DISC, Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, and more.
  2. Mentor and coaching programs, including reverse or reciprocal mentoring programs (for example, Millennials mentoring Baby Boomers).
  3. One-on-one instructor access and tutoring.
  4. Resume review and practice interviews via phone and video conferencing.
  5. Job Board Postings.


While many events can fall into the education bucket as well, not all have to. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t charge for them! Aside from your annual meeting, this could include:

  1. Virtual summits, conferences, and meetings – not only can you charge a fee for these, but these could also potentially save you money if they are replacing any in-person events.
  2. Live streaming popular sessions or entire in-person events.
  3. Sell your association version of TEDtalks to drive attendees to an exhibit hall, sponsored by an industry leader.
  4. VIP speaker webinars that may not be worth continuing education credit but attract attendees due to the popularity of the speakers.


Sponsorships are a great way to collect non-dues revenue without touching your members, or at least your core members. Sponsors are typically supplier or vendor members and have a different status within an organization. While we’re used to seeing sponsorship packages for annual meetings and tradeshows, there are so many other ways to generate sponsorship dollars!

  1. Sponsored ads on social media.
  2. Sponsored takeover of social media channel(s) for a day.
  3. Featured blog post from a thought leader in the community.
  4. Sponsored ads and ad retargeting campaigns using companies like Feathr and Naylor.
  5. Sponsored webinars, podcasts, on-demand content, and so much more!

Don’t forget to utilize local chapters to help sell your sponsorships as well!

While the plethora of items under the four categories listed above probably has given you enough to think about, don’t forget about the miscellaneous ideas that can add up! This includes offering a Buyer’s Guide (that could include ratings and reviews), report data from member surveys as a business trends resource, charging for mailing lists, running affinity programs like service and insurance discounts for members that allows your association to receive royalties, and finding underwriters for publications, benchmarking data tools, and more.

We are sure there are countless other ways to increase your non-dues revenue, so please, if you feel like we are missing something, comment below!

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