Beyond Dues: 15 Ways for Your Association to Generate Revenue

Beyond Dues: 15 Ways for Your Association to Generate Revenue

Beyond Dues: 15 Ways for Your Association to Generate Revenue

While membership dues traditionally make up a large portion of income for associations, they will never fully cover the budget, especially as associations are becoming more competitive for members. Here are 15 alternative ways your association could generate revenue.


Donations are not an unusual way for associations to raise funds, but they do rub some members the wrong way if their dues are already hefty. Think about limiting campaigns to once or twice a year or keeping an anonymous till continuously open so members can give small amounts whenever they’re able.

Traditional Fundraising Events

Traditional fundraising events are good for bringing in cash a few times a year. Look for opportunities when you have a lot of people under one roof to hold silent auctions, raffles and the like. If you get them at a conference when they’re having fun and already spending money, they may be willing to part with more.

Ongoing Online Events

Some nonprofits have good luck holding continuous online auctions or other cyber events to raise money. This works well if your organization has access to prizes on a regular basis, such as donors willing to give a wine basket or spa package every month, and if the logistics work out to deliver winners’ rewards easily.


Don’t let Google or anyone else fill up your website with their ads when you can sell them for more to people within your industry. Your main website can offer banner and sidebar ads, as can any separate websites for your events, newsletters or printed programs.

Sales/Retail Space

If you have the personnel and a compelling logo or message, selling goods with your association name on them can also bring in money. Some associations even have their own retail space, which is a big commitment but one that can create serious revenue over time.


Can your association make money through publishing? Think about what your members have to offer that could be combined into a book or published as mini e-books for instant download. Try this strategy:

  • First e-book: Download for free
  • Second e-book: Free for members, everyone else pays
  • Third e-book: Everyone pays for it


Education and Certification

Depending on your field, you might be able to provide continuing education or certification for people coming up in your profession. What about tutoring for boards?


Do you have a humanitarian mission or special event you’re trying to raise money for already? Crowdfunding sites may be the way to go.


Applying for grants usually requires extra association staff because of the research and time involved. Consider trying an intern, college student or freelancer for a while to see if it’s something that pans out for your association.

One-Time Donations

Are you asking members to include your association in their bequests? What other one-time donations could you be going for? What about matching funds for a special campaign?

Conferences and Meetings

Conferences and meetings are another traditional source for revenue, but they tend to be rather insular. If you open up your events to a broader audience, even for the first day or two, you may see increased attendance. Could you, for example, offer a “career day” for people interested but not yet working in your industry?

Membership Area on Your Website

Think about offering a separate membership area on your website that unlocks for a reasonable fee. Either offer something beyond what comes with your basic membership or open it up to non-members (another path to recruitment).


Can you perform services for businesses or your community for a fee? How about project management, auditing or peer reviewing journal research?


If you own extra meeting space, real estate or simply property others need, you can make money renting it out to other organizations instead of letting it sit idle or in storage between events.

Interested in learning more about how to run your association more efficiently? At Jaffe Management, we offer multiple solutions for membership associations and nonprofits, from membership communication to website design. Contact us today to see how we can help you.