- Ones the members can get for free anywhere
- Ones the association is going to do whether they are members or not
- Ones the association does better together than the members can do themselves
Engaging members in programs "together", where they can leverage their budgets and maximize their performance, is the perfect type programs and services associations should be pursuing. Effective non-dues revenue programs that are meaningful to members can have a dramatic impact on an association's budget.
Once our association began to dig into meaningful programs for our members, our non-dues revenue began to grow like crazy through member engagement. The following graph illustrates the impact the programs have had on our associations "per member revenue."
The impact of raising our per member revenue through more effective non-dues programs has been amazing. The following graph illustrates our growth in annual non-dues revenue:
One of the biggest drivers of that new non-dues revenue is online education and training. Here's how online education fits the criteria for the perfect non-dues revenue program:
- The association can do it more effectively than the members
- It has high profit margins
- It takes minimal staff effort with the right learning management system
As of this year, our association has an online learning academy that:
- Generates almost $100,000 in annual revenue
- Has over 350 course enrollments a month (over 32,000 in 7 years)
- Has saved members over $2,000,000 in training costs over 7 years
- Takes less than one man hour a week by staff to administer
Since its inception, our online academy has been able to deliver high quality content, in a user friendly environment, at a significant savings to our members, while driving extra revenue to the association annual budget.
I highly encourage all associations that do not have an online training strategy to seek one out. If you have content in any format, or an industry professional you can partner with in a revenue sharing arrangement, you are sitting on the same opportunity to drive new revenue to your association.
From my experience, the keys to a successful online learning strategy that engages your members in the program are as follows:
Need to Establish a Culture of Training Within Your Membership
It is proven by studies that companies that train their employees have higher morale, more confident employees, less error rates, higher gross profits, embrace change and accept technology easier.
Associations need to brand that thinking in order for members to take training serious. They need to see the positive impact training will have on their career or business profits/productivity.
A User Friendly Learning Management System (LMS)
Whichever LMS you choose, you must have the following three items for you to maximize net revenue and minimize staff involvement:
- Content creation, of courses, is point, click, upload environment
- User friendly to the member in navigation
- Cost structure to your association that allows your association to maximize your revenue