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Start planning your non-dues revenue portfolio for 2022 right now

SSS Non Dues Revenue | MCI United States | EN

August, 09 2021

By Brittany Shoul

Non-dues revenue has always been important for associations, but during the pandemic era it has become absolutely vital, with canceled events and suspended memberships cutting deeply into traditional revenue sources. The simple fact is that associations with diversified revenue streams are more stable — during normal times and crisis moments. 

With live events beginning to return and the economy coming back online, now is the time to assess your non-dues revenue programs and consider products and opportunities that will engage your partners, sponsorship, exhibitors, and advertisers. Here are key considerations for rounding out your product mix to support your sales cycle for 2022 and beyond: 

1. Planning timelines and sales cycles: Every association market has key dates and/or events that impact the overall planning and sales cycles for your industry. Aligning with your customer’s planning and buying cycles ensures that you’re asking for and capturing budget dollars at the right time. Ask yourself: 

  •    Do your customers plan around your annual events? 
  •    Do your customers plan and budget on a fiscal or calendar year? 
  •    Have planning and buying cycles changed with COVID? 

2. Product mix: While we’re barely halfway through 2021, you need to evaluate your current mix of sales and sponsorship products and plan changes for next year. Ask yourself: 

  •    What products are underperforming from both an engagement and a revenue standpoint that need to be rebuilt or sunset? 
  •    Are there new audience/member/customer needs that you need to address with new products? 
  •    What feedback do you have from your non-dues revenue community to inform product development? 

3. Member engagement: While you’re considering your mix of products, you also must think about engagement. Audience engagement with your products may look very different than it did two years ago; tracking, measuring, and analyzing that data will help you answer some of the questions in #2 above. In addition, ask yourself: 

  •    Is member engagement as expected with key products? Why or why not? 
  •    What engagement metrics are top of mind for 2022, and how will you build a marcom plan to deliver? 

4. Growth products: For many of our clients, digital advertising has grown by 20 percent over the last 15 months. This presents an opportunity to continue developing those products — and generate more revenue. Ask yourself: 

  •    What products sold out in 2021, and how can they grow? Can you revisit inventory and frequency to create more sales opportunities? 
  •    Is there room to increase pricing for growth products?
  •    Have you done a recent competitive analysis to see what other products may be performing well in your industry/space?

The past 18 months have forced associations to become more creative when it comes to sourcing non-dues revenue, and now isn’t the time to stop. Make that a key part of your sales and sponsorship strategy for 2022. 


Brittany Shoul is Vice President of Sales for MCI USA.  

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