Finding Hidden Gems: Strategies for Non-Dues Revenue with Association Content

Your association already has resources that could be generating extra non-dues revenue. You just need to know where to look!

By Joe Plasterer

Businesswoman standing on flying money with binocular searching for opportunities. Earning money concept. Vector illustration. Content monetization concept.

Associations constantly seek to expand their revenue streams beyond membership dues. Sponsorships, events, and certification models help deliver the bottom line, but it’s equally as important for leaders and the board to ask where more revenue can be found to expand the association’s mission and outreach.

Additionally, they should consider how to create more value for members based on existing resources. Is it possible to generate more member value, renewals, and referrals, resulting in more revenue per member? 

Change in the Couch 

It’s like finding loose change in your couch – if you’re looking for new non-dues revenue, start where you are most often: online content.  Here, the couch is your association’s entire content library, where members, potential members, and sponsors contribute and interact. 

Examples of digital content include: 

AMS Content: Blogs, survey results, frequently asked questions (FAQs), member inquiries, and other engagement material can be repackaged and easily searchable, delivered, sponsored, branded, skinned, and co-promoted. 

Training Content: Lunch-n-learns, recorded Zoom chats, how-to guides, and members-helping-members content, in multiple formats, can be promoted and made searchable. Zoom content can be uploaded to YouTube, offering association channels and easy promotion. 

Documents PDF: There are great libraries of knowledge on many sites, whether they are PDFs of journals or white papers from annual events. PDFs can be made searchable and become part of your promoted content inventory.

Videos: iPhones and Zoom have made everyone video producers. Use that content to promote knowledge sharing. Post videos to YouTube or other platforms to promote your brand, for sale or behind a paywall on your website. 

Event Content: Session records, survey results, on-the-spot interviews, white paper, and presentation materials extend the reach of your event, brand, and thought-leader status. You can continue the sponsor value, sell packages to online content, and sell continuing education subscriptions. 

LMS Courses: Provide continuing education, even if you aren’t a credentialing authority.  If you are a credentialing authority, make sure you have a Webinar Wednesdays program that provides CE credits.  Why not provide ¼ credit for reading a white paper and passing a quiz?  All of this content can be managed in your LMS. Depending upon your platform, you may be able to offer member pricing, non-member pricing, and packages. Many platforms offer opportunities to advertise, promote, or create brand learning experiences. 

Content Strategies and SEO 

The final piece is the strategy itself. Each content type has a decision point related to what to share for the general association community and what to keep behind the login screen. Essentially, decide what should be promoted as general content and what you’d like to require a login. For more valuable industry information, certification materials, etc., consider how the content relates to membership tiers. Start with small pilots that you promote and measure the results. 


Digging in the couch for loose change isn’t just for kids looking for ice cream money. You can find significant opportunities to use content already available in different ways. With some creativity and research, you can find new ways to engage existing and potential members, develop new revenue streams, and promote service and value. Keep your “couch” (content libraries) clean, fresh, and up-to-date! 


About the Author

Joe Plasterer is principal and co-founder of Starkweather Association Services. He has over 30 years of experience in advising decision makers on information technology, policy, business development sales and leadership. His work ranges from legislative staff, software startup CEOs, business development executives to serving as a military intelligence officer. Joe serves as Starkweather’s executive sponsor. You can reach Joe at

Related Articles


Are We in a Direct Mail Renaissance?

Direct mail is having a resurgence and could help your association compete for new members,...

Sponsorship ideas represented by hanging lightbulbs

Six Winning Sponsorship Ideas for Your Next Meeting

Employ one of these creative sponsorship ideas that has worked for fellow association professionals.

African American businesswoman ceo holding papers having videocall on yearly financial report with multiethnic colleagues using laptop in modern corporation office. Over shoulder view.

How To Nurture Relationships In a Virtual World

Eight tips for relationship-building in our increasingly digital world.