Talking about non dues revenue is like the white elephant in the room because everyone knows its a priority but very few are taking actions to make it happen.

When you see how each association is attempting to sell the value propositions each one is leaving money on the table in a big way.

How can I say that?

Let me ask you a question and go ahead and answer it for yourself or add comment at the end of the post.

If I were to visit your association website and pay for a class with a credit card what is the next web page the payment gateway takes me to?

A.  The association home page

B.  You don’t know

C.  My web person knows that

D.  A cross sell or up sell of existing value proposition

If you answered A, B, or C then it’s no wonder why the number one source of revenue is dues and other services amount to a far distant second.  Clearly non dues revenue is something you want however the need hasn’t hit hard enough to make you take action.

When you sit down at a restaurant and begin to order the server typically asks if you want an appetizer, a cocktail.  At the end of the meal even though you asked for a box and are clearly full the server asks you if you want to see the dessert menu.

So if restaurants are so successful at monetizing their menu why is the association not?

In my opinion is there aren’t clear defined goals and effective tactical solutions to make it happen.

Do you have clear written goals for each of the non dues revenue opportunities?

Business Model
Example model to start connecting the dots. All numbers listed are not to scale nor are guaranteed.

If not that’s like saying I want to make more money or I want to lose more weight.  It’s a far cry from reality.

I realize an association must be a service provider and deliver value in exchange for dues but when members go elsewhere to pay for services that an association already offers there is issue, at least in my opinion.

  • Sales is a learned skill.
  • Marketing is a learned skill.
  • Online marketing is a learned skill.
The challenge is that staff are so overwhelmed by the day to day activities that there is little time to invest in skill sets to increase sales so it becomes an outsourced activity or falls by the waste side.
Specifically in selling we must analyze the conversion rates from the list we build (or already have), the offer (value proposition) and the copy (the language/delivery of the offer).

My goal here in this post is to get you to think differently about the lost revenue opportunities that exist in your association and how to recapture the money members spend to use other service provider solutions.

I’ve taken the time to write some questions down to make you think about some revenue opportunities, channels you are using, and how the customer segments (members or non-members) that an association would attempt to deliver their value proposition.

Example Revenue Streams


Dues Revenue
Example model. Are numbers are not to scale.

Questions to ask

  • Do we permit quarterly, semi-annual, or yearly payments for membership?
  • Are there multiple memberships available to special interest, networking, and VIP special benefits?
  • Which services, tools, and affiliate marketing can we advertise and possibly bundle into membership packages?
  • Which services, tools, unbundle from membership services to sell a la carte?
  • Do you cross sell value propositions when dues are collected live or online through the membership portal?


Questions to ask

  • Are classes bundled, sold as individual, or both?
  • Do you cross sell value propositions upon live or online registration?
  • Do you cross sell value propositions during and following education offerings?
  • How often do you record digital audio, video screencast, or live broadcast of your presentations to be offered in the future?
  • Is all of the content delivered stored in a learning management system?
  • How many different methods do we use to educate our members for fee vs. non-fee?
  • Have we quantified the value proposition for how much money one can gain vs. lose by not taking action now?
  • Does our member education calendar allow for simple registration, payment, and quick logistics planning?
  • Are our education services available for consumption on mobile devices?
  • How easy is the process to make payments online and from a mobile device?


Questions to ask

  • Which affiliates, suppliers or vendors will sponsor at different levels to offset the cost of and event?
  • Do we offer multiple sponsorship and advertising levels for special events?
  • Do we offered tier ticketed pricing for different value packages for special events?
  • How often are you collecting video testimonials, pictures, and feedback from special events?
  • Do you promote high priority calls to action on Twitter hashtags for events?
  • Do you cross sell value propositions after every call to action during event activities?
  • Do we accept donations for special charities during events?
  • Do we host consumer education events for a fee?


Questions to ask

  • How many different communication channels online do you use to educate and ask for RPAC investments?
  • Do you ask others to donate or invest?
  • Have you make a list of the 100 reasons why to invest in RPAC?
  • Do you accept credit cards from mobile devices?
  • Do you have a system setup for online auctioning?
  • How many steps does it take to donate to RPAC online?

Licensed services

Questions to ask

  • Which intellectual property do we have we can license to other institutions per use or by period of time?
  • Do we have extra staff hours we can offers to offset during non peak times?
  • Do we have special software or technology we can license to non members involved in professional services?
  • Do we license our training materials to large brokerages?

Sponsorships, Affiliates, Advertisers, Suppliers

Questions to ask

  • Which products and tools do our members use the most?
  • Do the products and tools reinforce the value propositions of the REALTOR® Association?
  • Have we tried to create a supplier, advertiser or affiliate relationship with each solution provider?
  • Which affiliates, suppliers or vendors will sponsor at different levels to offset the cost of an event?
  • Have we made a list of 100 why questions on why someone would want to sponsor your association?
  • How many ways do we communicate each of the value propositions to sponsors of association-sanctioned events?
  • Do we have a tiered sponsorship program that offers multiple benefit packages for each tier?
  • How many calls do you make per week to solicit non-member relationships?
  • How often and what tools do we use to educate our sponsors, affiliates, and advertise on how they can develop more sound relationship with our members?

Store (live and online)

Questions to ask

  • Does our live store reinforce the online store specials?
  • Do we give others options to donate to RPAC or selected charities upon every credit card purchase?
  • How often do we use direct response marketing to promote in store specials?
  • Does our online shopping cart system allow cross sells, up sells, and monthly installments options?
  • What products or services can we cross promote using online affiliate marketing to generate revenue?
  • Do you cross sell value propositions after every call to action?
  • Are we set as affiliates for Amazon, iTunes, and other popular online merchandisers?


Questions to ask

  • Does our facility offer workstations, computers, WI-FI access, and meeting space?
  • Does our office space have extra room to offer meeting space to members, affiliates, or the public for a fee?
  • Can we lease space to an affiliate, sponsor, or advertiser?
  • Have we selected the top meeting spaces according to each type of event we host that allow customized signage, easy access, and security?


Face to face

Questions to ask

  • What are the priority calls to action to reinforce when encountering a member in person?
  • How many different types of printed messaging or collateral to members which support high priority calls to action?
  • How many different ways to you continue face to face conversations and discussions from live events to online?
  • How often to you capture live testimonials or experiences with dedicated and supportive members?


Questions to ask

  • Have you used MarketingGrader or WooRank to determine the effectiveness and make improvements to your website?
  • How many specific calls to action do you want REALTORS® to take and are they easy identifiable, clickable, and usable from a mobile device?
  • Is the site easy navigable from an iPad, iPhone or other mobile device?
  • How often do you test the offer headlines, copy, and conversion of call to actions?
  • Is the website accessible for the visually impaired?


Questions to ask

  • How often do you A/B test split your email campaigns?
  • How often do you use a unique throat grabbing subject line?
  • How many auto-responders does your organization use to build lists and make online conversions to build trust and online sales?

Social media

Questions to ask

  • Have we determined which channels to use, established best practices and developed a policy for social media?
  • How often are we tracking the effectiveness of our social media campaigns on each of our channels?
  • How often are we taking the time for staff to improve the skill sets in using the social media tools?
  • Have we looked at the assessments provided by Doug?


Questions to ask

  • When staff answer the phone are they excited?
  • Are the voicemails created with sincerity, ways to follow up, and specific call to action at the end?
  • Does our phone service allow for click to call, visual voicemail, online call logs, and cloud based fax?
  • At the end of the conversation has the staff asked for an upsell or cross sell?

Partner channels

Questions to ask

  • How many ways do our partner associations post our content to their website?
  • Have we allowed and demonstrated how partners can syndicate our content to their members?
  • How many ways do our partners share our message through their communication channels?
  • Have we created affiliate relationships with our partnerships to increase non dues revenue opportunities?

Customer Segments

REALTOR® members

Questions to ask

  • How many ways does your association describe how one can become a member?
  • Have you assigned a dollar amount for each value proposition?
  • How many ways and what would it cost their business to lose their membership?

Broker owners

Questions to ask

  • Who are the top real estate brokers, most active, and have contributed the most to your membership?
  • Do we offer videos, presentations, reports, and other shareable content brokers can use in office meetings or with corresponding with agents?
  • Do we offer a special membership including featured benefits to top brokers?
  • Have you assigned a dollar amount for each value proposition?


Questions to ask

  • Who are the top companies and decision makers in each category of service provider for real estate?
  • How many ways do we connect affiliate members with our members?
  • How many different types of affiliate membership do you offer?
  • Have you clearly articulated the value proposition according to features, benefits, and motivating factors to act now?
  • How often and in how many ways are we communicating our value propositions to these organizations?


Questions to ask

  • How many different ways can the association create content to protect the consumer?
  • How many different programs is your association involved in creating consumer advocacy?
  • Which services does your association charge consumers for specialized services?
  • How skilled are the members trained in sharing valuable content produced by the association with the public?


Questions to ask

  • Have we identified the highest value/lowest cost for each of our fixed and variable suppliers?
  • Have we asked our suppliers to participate as affiliates, sponsors, or advertisers?
  • Do we include our suppliers in our association announcements?
  • How often and in how many ways are we communicating our value propositions to these organizations?

Ok, enough questions.  Let’s talk about implementation.

Each one of these questions should not be answered just yes/no.

They should be answered in why, what, how.

Some of the tactical solutions can be integrated rather quickly with limited time of investment and cost.

Some require intensive writing, creativity, and technological skill.

Which of these is the biggest priority for you?

Add a comment below with your question and I will reply with an answer.


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre from St. Louis, Missouri USA when they want to dramatically increase operational performance, create breakthrough value propositions, and serve customers beyond geographical constraints on a minimal budget. For more than a decade he has been setting trends with how organizations engage customers with social media, video marketing, and custom-built software applications. Doug’s book Screen to Screen Selling published by McGraw Hill pioneered the way sales professionals sold homes without being physically present before the COVID-19 pandemic. He is one of a select few who have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association and has experience as a REALTOR.

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