By Elizabeth Wasternack and Matt Karst
In today’s economy, it is important for nonprofit associations to have multiple revenue streams. If your association focuses only on seeking revenue from membership dues or annual events, it limits the growth of the association when people do not renew their membership nor attend your events. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. By adding one or more non-dues revenue streams, you can better-insulate your association from economic changes. Below are a few ideas that might help get your creative juices flowing.
Statistics show that 60% of consumers listen to podcasts. This can be accredited to the ease of access and the wide range of topics available. Podcasts benefit your association in terms of expanding your audience (which can increase membership), SEO (search engine optimization – which affects your position in the search engine results pages), and it can bring in some revenue through selling ads that play during your podcast. Advertising slots on popular podcasts are a hot commodity and can be used to substantially increase your association’s non-dues revenue. However, it does take some time, effort, planning, and a little skill to maintain a podcast. The following tips will help you get started:
- Ask your Board and other committees to recommend a member, or a group of members, who might be enthusiastic about hosting and producing a podcast. This can also be a good way to bring younger members into leadership positions within the organization.
- Decide the specific audience you want to target.
- Once an audience is defined, create some goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your show.
- Create a list of topics (i.e. news of the day or public policy related to your organization, the latest research, articles in your organization’s latest journal, interviews with people in the industry, etc.)
- Decide how and when you will create your podcasts. Experience within PMG has shown that shorter podcasts, like 15-20 minutes, are optimal. You can record a series of podcasts on one topic at one time, with natural breaks after 15-20 minutes, for easy editing.
- An easy and inexpensive way to record podcasts is with Zoom. Then you can also upload the video to your YouTube channel for twice the impact.
- Create an account on a podcast distribution website such as Libsyn.com, for distribution of your published podcast. This will allow your podcast to be found on popular platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and to be noticed by podcatchers.
AmazonSmile is a program run by Amazon which takes 0.5% of a user’s Amazon purchase total and donates it to the organization of their choosing. It’s free and easy to register your association, and Amazon users only have to set your association as their donation preference once. After that, 0.5% of every purchase that Amazon user makes will go to your association. The only drawback is that 0.5% of the total won’t equate to much money in most cases. A donation of $25 would require $5,000 to be spent on Amazon. Regardless, AmazonSmile gives your organization the opportunity to essentially get free money, just by signing up.
Developing a certification program can increase your association’s non-dues revenue and spread your association’s reach even further. Many young individuals look to specialize their efforts and continue their education, so a certification program allows them to do both while still working a full-time job. By offering certifications in sought after skills, a variety of young professionals will sign up for these programs, which in turn will increase awareness about your organization in addition to increasing revenue.
These are just three possibilities that could result in increased non-dues revenue. We would like to hear about your favorite non-dues revenue streams in the comments below.