These days, for an association to remain strong, it cannot rely solely on membership fees as its only revenue stream. Associations must solidify their financial futures by creating non-dues revenue opportunities.
By maintaining healthy non-dues revenue streams, your association will more easily ride out any disruptions in economic cycles, allowing it to continue providing members with the level of service and support they expect from the organization.
By investing in quality digital ad space, prioritizing engagement, promoting available ad spaces, and finding the right advertising balance, you can boost the exposure of your association’s initiatives, bring in additional outside sponsorship, and grow your non-dues revenue.
This article discusses how to put that plan into action.
1) Quality Digital Ad Space is a Must
To boost non-dues revenue, you need to find quality online ad space, either through email, your association’s website, or inside your organization’s online community. Online ads are a great way to make non-dues revenue by delivering revenue-generating content, like online learning workshops, upcoming events, continuing education, and the content of your sponsors to members and donors.
Quality online ad space requires the following:
Your channels should be well-trafficked and offer high engagement. Potential sponsors are looking for billboards along busy highways, not empty dirt roads.
If you’re going to use ad space in your email newsletters, make sure that you’re maximizing your efforts to keep your click and open rates strong. An active online community is most desirable to advertisers, so make sure you are working to keep engagement alive.
15 Ways To Take Your Newsletter To The Next Level [Free Download]
Functional and Beautiful Design
From your association’s website to your email newsletters, beautiful spaces that are easy to navigate and engaging will go a long way toward increasing traffic and wooing advertisers.
Make sure that all of your association’s channels are user-friendly. That includes creating emails that are appealing and offering click-worthy content.
There is nothing more alluring to an advertiser than the word “targeted.”
If your association can offer advertisers targeted advertising options, they will be on board because targeted advertising allows your sponsors to get a real return on investment.
Assuming you are already targeting your automated emails or community engagement, you can easily leverage those options and offer them to your association’s sponsors.
You can even use your marketing automation tools to re-target ads. For example, let’s say your member abandons their registration for one of your association’s non-dues revenue-generating events advertised in your email newsletter. You can re-target the advertisement to that member by displaying it on your association’s website the next time they visit.
2) Growing Member Engagement Should be your Priority
Whether it’s your association’s marketing or for the benefit of your potential advertisers, you’ll need solid member engagement to get the most from advertising.
To increase interest in your association’s available ad space, you want to work toward growing engagement. If people are not opening your email newsletters, for example, you should consider employing responsive workflows and marketing automation for better target marketing.
Member engagement is the key to association success, both for your association and its sponsors, so focus on the most receptive members.
3) Promote Your Ad Spaces
Once you are confident that your association’s channels can produce results, you’ll need to do your own advertising. To lure potential advertisers and sponsors, you’ll need to convince them that your association can offer prime online real estate. That means you’re going to want some stats to back those claims.
One way to do this is to create an ad kit that you can send off to potential advertisers. This kit can outline your association’s available ad space and your engagement stats and demographics. Once you can get some sponsors on board, you can be making additional revenue in no time through your discussion pages, weekly email newsletters, or daily emails.
4) Find the Right Advertising Balance
At the end of the day, you want to stay true to your association’s mission. So, be careful when advertising to members not to bombard them with ads and promotions. Think about what spaces you have for advertising and what it is that your members expect. Make sure that the advertisements you show them are of value to them. Since you control the ad space you offer, you control how much advertising your members are exposed to.
If you have never allowed advertising or promotion in the past, you might want to consider starting small. If you bombard your membership with ads, you could negatively affect the engagement rates you’ve worked so hard to increase, negatively affecting potential advertising interest.
Plus, starting with small and personal ads can give the ads a more organic-looking feel which will better resonate with your target audience. It is a delicate balance that can be difficult to strike.
It may take some time to find that balance and master advertising across your online channels so that your association doesn’t have to rely solely on membership dues.
The overall goal of this effort is to make use of your association’s online space without bombarding members while continuing to provide them with member value and generating non-dues revenue. In the end, increasing non-dues revenue is necessary for your organization’s survival.
rasa offers users the ability to implement both image ads and article ads. Our platform allows users to easily add their own text, images, and advertisements. Our “Boost” and “Double Boost” tools allow users to quickly and easily bypass our AI and feature an article in their email newsletter campaign sent out to all of their subscribers.