Stacked Logo color icon


Member Benefits, Benchmarking for Associations, non-dues revenue

Non-Profit is a Tax Term, Not a Business Plan

Oct 4, 2021 2:11:01 PM


A little over a week ago we attended Non-Dues-A-Palooza in Nashville, TN. We learned from forward thinking association executives just how they are implementing non-dues revenue at their associations.  One of the sayings that stuck with me was “Non-Profit is a Tax Term, Not a Business Plan.”  This statement was made by an executive director of an association  who has implemented several for profit incubator programs that have poured millions into their endowment. Yes, I said millions. 

For the most part, associations have not thought about themselves as money making entities, but rather a dues generating business, with some non-dues revenue.  However, as this past year has taught us and really the past five years, we cannot rely on dues alone to catapult our associations to success; we must focus on non-dues revenue if we really want to thrive.  

Ok you say we need to focus on non-dues revenue but where do we start? This is a question many associations are asking themselves. 




What we learned at Non Dues-A-Palooza is that the associations that are excelling at implementing non-dues revenue programs focus on their value statements. What are they good at? What kind of services can they provide their members that others can’t? In the example above, of the association that implemented the incubator program, they realized data was their gold mine. They used that to help create industry forecast reporting along with many other profit making industry resources.  Another creative example of a non-dues revenue program came from an EMS Association. His members eat a lot of beef jerky. The departments asked him if he could get a partnership with one of the beef jerky companies to get reduced rates for purchase. Not only did he get reduced rates, but his association also gets a profit share. Numerous other associations discussed how certification programs are a huge non-dues revenue generator for their organizations.  It was a reminder to all of us in attendance that members don’t buy education, they buy achievement. Why not turn that into a revenue generator? 

Generating non-dues revenue through diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives was also a hot topic at the conference. Most members are looking to their associations for help in this arena. Everyone in attendance saw this as a great opportunity to make extra money for your association through sponsored initiatives. 

In fact, here at Dynamic Benchmarking 90% of our DEI platforms sold in the past year have had sponsors.

In closing, it goes without saying that if non-dues revenue is not in your budget conversation for 2022, you are missing out.  If you'd like to learn how you can earn non-dues revenue through benchmarking and data collection reach out to our team at