Note: This post was originally published on 1/13/16; Updated 10/16/18 for added value.

Membership dues are a big part of your organization’s overall revenue stream. But in order to attract more members, it’s important to keep those membership dues down. And in order to retain existing members, it’s important to try your best to keep those dues consistent year after year.

Embracing non-dues revenue streams is a great way to keep membership dues down, while still bringing in the revenue you need to run your organization. To help you get started, here are 14 non-dues revenue ideas for your association:

  1. Sell branded merchandise. This can be anything from t-shirts and bags to mugs and koozies.

  2. Rent out your office space. (If you have extra room, of course.) This could be desk space on an individual basis, or even your conference room(s).

  3. Ask companies in your industry to sponsor your organization. Associations like your own provide industries with value, so many companies are willing to form a partnership of some sort.

  4. Utilize online banner ads on your organization’s website.

  5. Offer ad space in your organization’s newsletter.

  6. Allow flyers to be placed in your new member welcome packets.

  7. Offer ad space on your organization’s mobile app (if you have one).

  8. Host a job board and allow employers to post job openings. 

  9. Leverage your social media platforms – only if you have a strong following. You can offer several different advertising options as well as sponsored posts.

  10. Offer industry-related training programs or workshops. Members generally don’t mind paying a small fee for educational programs as long as there’s some level of value associated with them. (Think CAE credits.)

  11. Host an annual conference. In addition to charging for attendance, allow exhibitors to set up at your event and charge them for booth space. You can even offer a la carte sponsorship opportunities, such as educational sessions, coffee breaks, receptions, branded items, etc.

  12. Organize a lunch and learn. Again, as long as there’s some level of educational value here, members (and non-members) generally won’t mind paying a small fee.

  13. Offer certifications and/or accreditation programs. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, professionals in your industry want to ensure they have the best credentials after their name – and they’re willing to pay for it.

  14. Ask for donations. If your organization has any kind of charitable component, donations can be a great source of non-dues revenue. All you have to do is ask!

What’s great is, these ideas can all be applied to members and non-members alike! You might even consider offering a special members-only rate to make it more enticing for them.

Got those non-dues revenue juices flowing? See what other ideas we have in our free non-dues revenue guide below!