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5 ways to maximise your membership revenue


The most important factor in everything you do as a membership organisation is the value you provide your members.

That means creating educational, informative and engaging content that turns members into regular readers, listeners, viewers, or attendees.

That foundation of content will also be a sought-after platform when it comes to generating revenue, as commercial partners understand the authority and trust you’ve established with your members. Here are five strategies to diversify your income and become more financially stable and resilient.

1. Event sponsorship

Whether in-person or virtual, live events offer a range of opportunities for membership organisations to generate income and add value for members.

For the more ambitious, in-person conferences and awards ceremonies bring together industry experts, thought leaders, and provide useful networking opportunities for members. On a smaller scale, webinars and virtual conferences can open up a thought-leadership event to a wider audience with lower overheads.

In each case, the event creates multiple sponsorship opportunities. Companies will be keen to sponsor your event to reach your members and promote their services – whether that’s as title sponsor, with networking packages or exhibition spaces. Having a presence at your event positions sponsors as a credible organisation in your sector.

2. Recruitment and careers hub

Creating an online job board opens up a source of revenue for you – and a place for your members to find industry-specific job postings. Again, the trust and authority you create with members means that recruiters, recruitment agencies and employers will pay to list their jobs, knowing they are targeting the right candidates.

RICS Recruit, for example, covers surveying jobs from apprentice to CEO level. Advertisers such as specialist agencies, charities and government departments are drawn to the quality of candidates that the Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors has as members.

With articles and advice on starting out in surveying and also on career development, the RICS Recruit hub also provides a valuable resource for existing members and for people interested in becoming a surveyor. The result? Keeping members happy and attracting the next wave of members to your organisation.

3. Sponsored or cobranded content

Sponsored content is appealing to revenue partners because it gives them a chance to engage with a membership audience in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Usually, these partners have knowledge to share, so can provide value to members in the shape of trend guides or expert opinion on industry issues. Typically, for bigger or more exclusive reports, people may have to provide basic contact details to access the full version.

While articles and blog posts are the most common form of sponsored content, you can also work with partners to produce white papers, surveys, videos and podcasts. Again, it is the authority of your platform and the trust you’ve established with your audience that is so attractive.

4. Advertising

Advertising may feel like a conventional strategy, but it remains a powerful way to increase your organisation’s revenue. As a membership body, you may be competing against Google for ad spend, but don’t underestimate the value of your data and demographic.

First, there’s the variety of digital options for advertisers, from home page banner ads to targeted placements on webinars and newsletters. Then there’s measurement – tracking ad performance to provide advertisers with the chance to connect with all, or just specific segments, of your online community depending on their product offering.

5. Member directories

When people are looking for advice or a service, they want the confidence that it will be carried out to a professional level. Whether they’re looking for legal advice or a heating engineer, people will often turn to a membership organisation, reassured that its members operate to a recognised standard.

In these cases, a member directory that lists firms or practitioners by location or specialism is a go-to source. This greater visibility for members will help them attract more work. It also presents revenue opportunities, such as priority positioning in search rankings, upgrading to enhanced profiles and display advertising within the directory.

The benefits of raising revenue

  • Support wider initiatives
  • Enhance member value
  • Reach a side audience
  • Provide new benefits and services to members
  • Provide additional sources of expertise
  • Enhance member engagement

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