4 (Almost) Effortless Non-Dues Revenue Opportunities for Chambers and Business Associations
Growing chamber revenue without the headache
Growing revenue is something nearly every chamber or business association is looking to do but often it's limited to membership growth or time-consuming activities.
Here, we share 4 simple things a chamber can do that generate revenue with almost zero cost or effort. Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch.
Revenue opportunities we won't exploreObviously, you can add banner ads to your website. That's fine and you can easily manage them with our Call-to-Action tools but they're kind of boring and don't particularly add value to your chamber. Besides that, if you're not actively creating and distributing content your traffic won't warrant the investment.
There are other time-tested options that chambers can do to grow revenue, many are highlight effective but they're all quite time-consuming and we know most chambers are severely understaffed.
By all means, you can host conferences, expos and job fairs, golf tournaments, and the like. You can also sell merchandise etc but those all take a significant amount of work and have a hard cost associated with the revenue.
Zero cost chamber revenue, mostly on autopilot
While any activity requires some effort, the key is to identify those things that complement what you're already doing. In many cases, you may be missing opportunities and leaving money on the table.
In other cases, there's an opportunity to offer something new... do you know how much money Mcdonald's made when they started asking, "would you like fries with that?"
The 4 categories we cover below are:
- Sponsors & Recognition
- Referral programs
- Nonmember access
Sponsor & Recognition Revenue Opportunities for Chambers
Ok, ok, we argued above that events take a lot of work - which is true - however, if you're going to do them why not fully monetize your efforts and give sponsors a chance to derive even more value from their participation?
Highlighting your major annual sponsors, as well as sponsors of your various events and activities, is easy and important - we even have a tool that makes managing sponsors on your website easy.
Go further and offer to create Sponsor Recognition articles highlighting their values and the reasons they participate. Afterall, 'values' are 1 of the 4 reasons people work with a business so help them tell that story.
Not a good writer, creative or have much time?
Run giveaways to grow engagement & your email list
Your members often have freebies or discounts to offer, others want to get in on the action but it's hard to give away a mortgage, insurance, and other services.
Why not run giveaways where people can enter to win a prize pack sponsored by a local business?
It's easy to do this with our forms tool and you'll grow your email newsletter subscriber base in the process.
Chamber donations can align with specific themes
Donations are a tricky business, people are solicited frequently and often don't know where their money will go.
A great way to grow revenue and address this is to highlight past donors as well the benefits of their contribution. You guessed it, Guided Blogging can be used to create these articles while our form-based payments and integrated CRM can help you do this too.
When you create this content, don't forget the call-to-action (CTA) reminding people that they can contribute and give them a chance to share where they'd like to see their donation be spent.
Referral programs give chambers a chance to profit from their relationships
Referral programs are nothing new and we see them all the time as consumers.
In the early days of the Internet, "affiliate programs" emerged to help people monetize their audience - interestingly, Amazon has one of the largest affiliate programs.
Regardless of the means, earning commissions from making introductions between your members and various providers is a legitimate opportunity. This is especially true given the sheer number of services that are unavailable through local providers but needed by both consumers and businesses.
Local marketing software referral programs for chambers
In addition to our free plan, our low-cost paid plans provide software tools that would otherwise be too expensive or complex for local businesses in addition to a few of the tools that are exclusive to us - did you say "automating cross-promotion between local connections?"
There are countless other referral programs as well, if you find your members constantly ask for advice on a topic that might be a good place to look for a program ;)
Looking for even more non-dues revenue ideas for your chamber?
Check out The Ultimate Chamber Non-Dues Revenue List for 2021 by Frank J Kenny and Types of Non-Dues Revenue Streams for Chambers of Commerce by Izzy West
Non-member access helps chambers grow non-dues revenue and memberships
Are your events and activities open to non-members?
Too often, people take an all-or-nothing approach to business i.e. members can attend events but nonmembers cannot.
Enabling nonmembers to participate in certain activities for a price, or an elevated price, is a great way to grow revenue while building relationships with new business owners.
This provides a clear path to recruit these participants to become members as they experience the value and you continue to ratchet up their involvement.
Be mindful of the tactics here but equip people to participate in a way that makes sense for them - and get paid in the process.
Combining revenue with chamber growth
At the end of the day, marketing in general and growing revenue in particular is challenging due to limited resources.
Focus on those activities where you get multiple benefits - getting paid is nice but if you can get paid while engaging more locals, growing your impact, and helping your members while reducing busy work then you're really investing time well spent.