Non-Dues Revenue: A Guide for Associations

non-dues revenue for associations

An ASAE report found that membership dues accounted for 45.4% of the revenue of trade associations, and only 30% for professional associations. That’s a far cry from the 1950s, when dues made up nearly 96% of the revenue for your average association.

Successful associations know how to make the most of non-dues revenue. Today, we’ll give you some concrete ideas for diversifying your organization’s revenue streams, the way we know best.

Events and Education: The Bread and Butter of Non-Dues Revenue

In the association space, events are well-known as a great way to offer your members a valuable experience, and to earn more non-dues revenue, too. The chances are good that you already utilize a combination of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events to earn more from sponsors and exhibitors.

If you have a learning management system, you might be monetizing courseware, too. An LMS can play a significant role in maximizing profits for associations big and small. Unlike your typical one-time event, an online learning platform is a lasting source of non-dues revenue.

An event is a point in time, but your LMS is perpetual—unless you integrate them. Running virtual and hybrid events through a learning management system lets them live on, generating revenue indefinitely.

Bringing these two elements together—events and education—opens the doors to new revenue streams. The possibilities are nearly endless, but here are some ideas to get your gears turning.

• Virtual Exhibit Halls

This portion of your event microsite is where sponsors can really shine. Give each sponsor a virtual booth that they can use to distribute resources and chat with attendees.

• Sponsor Page on Your LMS

Your LMS presents a great perpetual sponsorship opportunity. Add a permanent sponsor page into your learning platform so they can enjoy continual exposure.

• Conference Revenue

Conferences and other events can be big money makers. Charge for attendance however you’d like. Generate more revenue with advertisements, booth sales, and sponsorships.

• Session Sponsors

Allow your sponsors to lend their support to the sessions that most closely align with the goals and objectives of their organization.

• Sponsored Webinar Content

Your sponsors recognize the potential for exposure that comes with webcasts and similar virtual events. Offer a compelling webinar sponsorship package for greater ROI.

• Public Webinars

Opening a webinar up to the public is the perfect way to net more attendees, exposure, and revenue.

• Premium Content

More monetized content in your LMS means more revenue. Offer plenty of supplemental, premium content such as videos, podcasts, and ebooks.

• Conference Exhibit Halls

At in-person events, exhibit halls are a tried-and-true way to let your sponsors connect with the community. Your sponsors will love a strong presence at both your virtual exhibit hall and your in-person one!

• Certifications in Your LMS

Nothing can motivate people to engage with your LMS like a concrete reward. Monetizing the required courseware for certifications will add a new source of revenue.

• LMS Branding

Design your LMS not only to match your own branding, but also to incorporate the logos of your generous sponsors.  

• Sponsor Slideshow

Consider adding a slideshow to the sidebar of your LMS. It can rotate through the names and logos of your premier sponsors.

• Sponsored Messages

Inject messages from your sponsors throughout your online education initiatives. Place them before, during, or after webinars, courses, and events.

• LMS Subscriptions

Have you considered monetizing your LMS with a subscription model? This is a great way to earn continuous ROI with your online learning platform. 

• Speaking Opportunities

At your next virtual, in-person, or hybrid event, see if your sponsors would be interested in presenting live. They might prefer this to a pre-recorded message.

Boost Non-Dues Revenue with Cadmium

At Cadmium, we help associations generate revenue with a unified approach to events and education.

Our award-winning LMS, Elevate, forms the foundation of our approach. Purpose-built by associations for associations, it’s the perfect home for your education strategy, and a great source of non-dues revenue, too.

Are you ready to diversify your revenue streams with a unified approach to events and education? Get in touch with us at