I have spoken with several Executive Officers, Membership Directors, and Education Directors and almost every one of them have been facing considerable budgetary dilemmas. Where to spend, where to cut, and where to drop items are not so easy decisions to make. I did a little homework and here are some new, fresh, out of the box ideas that may work for your group.
Here are the ways:
Reseller accounts. Large service providers both vendors and education programs will offer your association money back when a member subscribes or enrolls in a new program. Service providers include web hosting, test messaging, email marketing,
Amazon. Anyone can create an account at www.Amazon.com and start selling other companies products. All you need is an internet connection, username, and password. The association can set up an online profile and start offering real estate books, computers, hardware, furniture, and clothes through the website that Amazon creates for you. You can begin marketing these products for sale by linking to the Amazon site, framing the Amazon site into your website, or embed HTML source code into your website to link specific products. This now becomes a way to earn 5% income from any purchases made through the association Amazon profile.
Distant learning. Instead of relying on live training and seminars for the main source of generating non dues dollars offer a variety of courses that don’t require the classroom or staff time to get started. There are three ways to accomplish this. For asynchronous learning begin researching affiliate or 3rd party education providers that will send a referral fee for any classes taken online. This is the best because you will receive a check in the mail periodically from sign ups and no maintenance is needed. Webinars can be a good tool but the cost has hindered most associations from licensing the learning management. Other 3rd party schools may send a referral fee based on the number of sign ups so you will have to ask them. Sell CD/DVD tutorials in the live locations and give the author a percentage of profits based on the number sold within a given time frame. Ask speakers, instructors, and schools for product to review and then make the decision to enter into a business relationship with them.
Donate icon on website. Set up a free account at www.PayPal.com and create a donate button for your website that members can donate a set amount by credit card, automatic recurring electronic funds transfer, or the amount that they desire. If you don’t ask then you don’t receive.
Advertising on everything. Sell ads like the grocery store does. On the bench outside you will see a sign for a company. On the shopping cart you will see another ad for a different company. And on the checkout most likely you will see a REALTOR advertising themselves. At the REALTOR association sell ads for the coffee pot, restroom stalls, flyer bin, an the recycle bin. Vendors and affiliates will do whatever it takes to get the extra brand exposure. Come up with an average number on how many people will see this ad in a day, week, month, and charge on a biannual or annual basis.
Sponsorships. The experienced staff or members may be good at getting sponsorships how always ask yourself how can make this experience better for the sponsors. If you are using multiple media outlets such as website, blog, podcast, social media, videos, email marketing then why not ask the sponsors to take action. The reason why the new web 2.0 methods work better than traditional advertising is because you can track all of the online behavior whereas traditional is less accurate.