You’re always looking for ways to boost the revenue of your association. While membership dues can account for a big chunk of your organization’s income, they won’t cut it on their own.
A 2016 report from ASAE 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 LMS
Your LMS presents a great perpetual sponsorship opportunity. Add a permanent sponsor page into your learning platform so they can enjoy continual exposure.
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.
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.
Opening a webinar up to the public is the perfect way to net more attendees, exposure, and revenue.
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.
Design your LMS not only to match your own branding, but also to incorporate the logos of your generous sponsors.
Consider adding a slideshow to the sidebar of your LMS. It can rotate through the names and logos of your premier sponsors.
Inject messages from your sponsors throughout your online education initiatives. Place them before, during, or after webinars, courses, and events.
Have you considered monetizing your LMS with a subscription model? This is a great way to earn continuous ROI with your online learning platform.
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 CommPartners
At CommPartners, 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.
Events are just as important to what we do. We offer more than just a virtual and hybrid event platform; we become a part of your team with our managed services.
Are you ready to diversify your revenue streams with a unified approach to events and education? Get in touch with Meghan Gowen at email@example.com. Keep up with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The days of cramming into large convention halls are out of sight, and integrating eLearning into education strategies is the future. Backed by a team of specialists ready to go the extra mile, CommPartners has been helping organizations do just that while creating dynamic virtual events for over 20 years.
Part of our mission at CommPartners, especially now, is to provide our community with useful information and learning tools. To meet that goal, we decided to offer a scaled-back version of our in-person User Conference planned for this summer. We created PEAK 2020 Virtual Bootcamp to help associations and organizations adapt and prepare for the transition to virtual events. During Bootcamp, you will build a Virtual Conference toolkit and contribute to our learning community.
Looking for more reasons to attend?
- Hear from CommPartners experts on creating a successful virtual event.
- Learn how to transition your in-person conference into a Virtual Conference.
- Understand the benefits of including Virtual Conferences in your education curriculum going forward.
- Hear success stories about organizations that have successfully implemented Virtual Conferences and other virtual events.
- Attend 2020 Virtual PEAK Bootcamp from the comfort of your home.
- Gain ongoing access to Bootcamp resources and past sessions from PEAK conferences.
- Walk away with a Virtual Conference toolkit to use as you create your online learning strategy.
Join CommPartners experts for an afternoon of sessions on July 31, 2020, that will expand your knowledge of virtual events and prepare your organization for the future! Register now!
Visit the PEAK website to learn more.
Were you gearing up for our 2020 PEAK User-Group Conference scheduled for July 30 & 31, 2020, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.? We aren’t out of the game yet; we will back at the ballpark for the PEAK User Group Conference in the summer of 2021!
One of the first steps in hosting a Virtual Conference with CommPartners is to meet with a Project Manager for a kick-off call. You likely went over some details during the sales call, but now will you dive more in-depth with your producer to take your conference to the next level. To ensure this process is as smooth as possible and production gets started without a hitch, here are a few things you can prepare for this meeting.
What are the dates of your conference?
You have probably established this information by the time you have spoken with the sales team and signed a contract, but if you have reached this point and have not set dates, expect that it will slow things down.
What do you want your conference website to look like?
Elevate clients can create a completely customized conference website. Having an idea of what you’d like your site to look like will speed the creation process up. Here are some things to consider:
- Will you use a sub-domain name of your website or will you use CommPartners’ domain name?
- Will you create an entirely new design theme or base it off your main site?
- What Elevate features and widgets will you include?
- What will your page navigation look like?
You should also be prepared to share files of your color palettes, logos, and any other images associated with your organization that you’ll want to include on your site. CommPartners is happy to help with any questions regarding your conference site environment, but for a truly custom look, arrive at the meeting with a prepared vision or idea.
How do you plan to handle registration?
Decide if your organization is going to process registration internally or if registration is going through the Elevate website. Both are possible, but your producer will need to know at the onset if registration is going through Elevate. The registration process will need to be built-in to the site and time may need to be added to the production timeline.
What does your agenda look like?
At this point, you should have a timeline prepared for your conference. Details about speakers and the sessions are not necessary, but your Project Manager needs to know when each session is happening, including breaks. They need to know you have left enough time for your learners to go from session to session plus take any necessary breaks.
At an in-person conference, learners have a certain amount of time to arrive at their next session. They have time to mingle in the hall or read the literature posted around the conference. There are also plenty of breaks built into the schedule for meals, to get water, go to the bathroom, and check email. Include breaks in your virtual conference agenda, as your virtual learners are doing the same things. They need to take personal breaks, look for the next session on the conference website, or address any technical difficulties they may have. They may also experience fatigue from online learning. Most are not accustomed to learning in this way and need breaks from the screen. Be sure that you include enough breaks in your schedule to accommodate the needs of your learners.
What is your session format?
Once you have you have a clear picture of what your agenda will look like, it is helpful to know what format your sessions will take. You have many options to choose from, will your speakers use just webcams? Slides and audio? A combination? Will some sessions be pre-produced? This can be a more in-depth discussion with your Project Manager at the meeting, but be prepared to tell them your expected attendance for the conference. It will help them choose the right format for your sessions.
Will you include sponsors?
Virtual Conferences offer several monetization options, and sponsorship is one of them. Be ready to let your Project Manager know what’s been sold to sponsors and at what level. Will there be sponsor videos or will your sponsors be introducing sessions? Are you including a Virtual Exhibit Hall?
A Virtual Exhibit Hall is home on your conference site for all the resources a sponsor can distribute to attendees. In each “exhibit booth,” the sponsor can upload PDFs, videos, company descriptions and links, and other assets. The exhibit hall will be open 24/7 – giving sponsors the opportunity for constant exposure.
Be creative when thinking of ways to include sponsors and be sure to prepare a list of participating sponsors for your Project Manager.
Will you include post-conference/session actions?
Finally, decide upfront if attendees are receiving items like credit, certificates, or evaluations after they have completed something at your conference. You then need to determine if they will receive them after each session or after the whole conference has concluded. If there is anything else attendees should receive after a session or the conference, now is the time to alert your Project Manager. These are actions that must be built-in into the site during the early stages.
By considering all of these questions before your first meeting with your Virtual Conference Project Manager, you not only save them time, you also save you and your team time. It will eliminate the amount of back-and-forth that usually occurs when trying to coordinate an event like this and advances the production timeline.
If you have any questions about your first kick-off meeting or would like to speak a sales representative, click here:
Contact Meghan Gowan, VP of Client Development at firstname.lastname@example.org
The reality of transitioning to a Virtual Conference can be as simple or complex as planning a traditional on-site event, depending on the needs of your organization. As CommPartners sees inquiries come in for Virtual Conferences, one question we hear often is, “is an LMS platform really necessary?”
In short, we believe, yes! An LMS or Learning Management System, like CommPartners’ Elevate, allows you to house all your conference resources in one place and creates a space for attendee engagement. Your LMS will be an enduring knowledge presence that makes your learners want to come back to your site for content and information repeatedly. An LMS also opens doors for new ways to monetize online learning as a fresh, constant source of content for your clients and members!
A Home Full of Resources
An LMS platform provides a place for your attendees to return throughout your Virtual Conference. They can reference things like the agenda, speaker bios, virtual tradeshow booths, uploaded resources, and more! Just like an in-person conference or exhibit hall, your attendees will be able to explore your LMS platform to find new and interesting information. An LMS will house a full catalog of resources for attendees, simplifying their experience by eliminating the need for multiple platforms.
One of the biggest concerns when moving from an on-site conference to a Virtual Conference is the elimination of human interaction. Learners attend these events to network and connect with people, and online that doesn’t seem possible. An LMS like Elevate can provide you with many options to bridge the gap between attendees, including discussion boards on the conference site or a specific session, live chat, and Q&A with the presenters during a live broadcast and one-to-one chat messaging! Peer-to-peer conversations, discussions with presenters, and live reactions will create a sense of human interaction in a virtual space.
A Stream of Content
By building an LMS platform now, you can secure a solid foundation for future online events and even create a new, constant source of information for clients and members. Plus, if your organization would want to produce another event, you would already have the tools, site, and team in place to implement. Not to mention, your attendees would have continued access to resources provided by you. With an established LMS, you have the option to add virtual components to any future on-site events. Attendees would also have the ability to refer back to the recordings of your conference to refresh themselves on what they had previously learned. By building an LMS into your crisis solution now, you are securing your organization for a sustainable future.
Make Money While Solving a Problem
The current need is for a virtual solution. Just because you are strategizing how to move forward in difficult times, doesn’t mean it should be at a loss! There are many options within an LMS to monetize your online offerings outside of registration fees. An LMS offers a constant source of resources, like creating subscription plans for your learners to access resources. You can brand pages with sponsors, play sponsor commercials in breaks, and feature ads in various areas of the platform. You can charge for virtual booth space in addition to the on-site booth, should you move forward with an on-site program. Monetizing Your Virtual Conference may mean a new way of creative thinking, but it is entirely possible to do!
While creating your virtual solution for this new challenge, it is wise to slow down, even for a brief moment, and analyze the long term return on investment. With so many uncertainties lingering, creating an LMS will enable you to maximize your remote presence.
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