Skip to main content
Intro to AI Webinar

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation regularly reports on association sources and ratios. According to a November 2016 report, revenues from membership dues were down to 45% of total revenue for trade associations and a meager 30% for professional associations.

Advances in technology have opened new doors of opportunity to drive non-dues revenue. Let’s take some lessons from the business world and leverage them into association revenue ideas outside the traditional membership fee.


For those who may not be aware, podcasts have enjoyed an enormous surge in popularity. At least 112 million Americans have listened to podcasts, a figure up 11 percent from 2017, with 67 million listening to podcasts every month.

Podcasts supply an affordable way to drive content and engage members, as well as generate non-dues revenue. Talk about your association and its particular industry and benefits. Interview key association members on topics relevant to your membership. After you have a following, you may even consider charging to have some members or partners interviewed on the podcast.

As your podcast grows in popularity, especially a wide local audience, you could look into sponsorships from other related businesses. Sell banner ads or even mentions in the podcast itself.

Podcasts also supply an opportunity to collect new membership leads. End each broadcast with a way listeners can find out more about your association and its benefits.


Depending on your association’s purpose or related industry, you can produce how-to or promotional videos and post them to your association’s own YouTube channel. Once a channel reaches 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers, it is eligible for the YouTube monetization program.

YouTube also allows you to produce a live feed with up to 6 cameras that you control, for little to no cost. Imagine a world where you can do live telecasts at your events or interviews. And yes, even your podcasts can live on your YouTube channel.

This combines publicity for your association with non-dues revenue. Win-win for everyone, especially your association members. And why not be the first association in your area with your own YouTube channel?


Why not utilize the base of people that you are already engaged with to create non-dues revenue by expanding your offerings with a la carte purchase opportunities? Possible perks that could be available for an ongoing or one-time additional fee include:

  • Educational events that offer industry certification or earned credit
  • Listings in or access to an exclusive job board
  • Consultation with an expert who holds a broad appeal
  • Access to association resources (such as a state-of-the-art lab or online catalogs)
  • Paper copy of online resources (nominal fee)
  • Paid access to one-time or multiple direct mailing list
  • First look at market research
  • Opportunity to send out surveys or marketing materials to members
  • Access to pertinent industry data
  • Listing in an associate member directory

This is another great opportunity to look at what you’re offering those associate members. Some services might work well as a free membership perk while others could be offered for an additional fee.

Your association type and purpose will dictate which of these association revenue ideas will work for you. Whatever you decide to do, it may require a deeper dive into your association culture and structure.

This blog was originally published by CIMATRI. CIMATRI delivers cost-effective, efficient solutions that optimize your association’s technology for complete digital transformation, and you can learn more about their offerings on their website.

Sidecar Staff
Post by Sidecar Staff
October 15, 2020
At Sidecar, we create the professional development tools a leader needs to grow their career and their purpose-driven membership organization, like associations and nonprofits. The skills you’ll learn within our growing community, interactive workshops and from our step-by-step courses will drive innovation, empower strategic thinking and institute cultural changes wherever your career takes you.