Developing and rethinking association offerings can be a complex process – but some associations are finding it doesn’t have to be. Here’s why a simple approach to nondues revenue could make sense for your organization.

After years of complexity for associations – rescheduling events, rolling out new digital offerings, rethinking sponsorships – it may be time for a simplistic approach to nondues revenue. 

Teri Carden is the creator of Non-Dues-a-Palooza, a community of content and events dedicated to helping association professionals find new ways to generate nondues revenue. She says the path to a more diversified portfolio begins by first examining the association programs and products already in place.


“What I’m finding is the association executives are looking for easy-to-market ideas [that are] easy to get into the hands of their members and easy money for their association.” 

Taking a simple approach to new ideas makes sense for already short-staffed associations, impacted further by the nationwide labor shortage – teams simply do not have the time to devote to complex product offerings. Carden says associations’ leadership teams are looking for ideas that can be put into the market quickly, tested and repositioned as needed, and returned to the market when ready.

Still, simplicity requires strategic effort and planning. Does the new revenue opportunity meet the needs of both members and sponsors? Does the idea fit the overall mission of the association? If the answer to these questions is yes, an association should explore the idea further. 

“Finding those [ideas] is pretty tricky, because associations are so different and their members’ needs are different - it actually takes some digging and really getting to the root of who the members are, what’s keeping them up at night, what their biggest challenges are and how the associations can answer them, while also generating revenue at the same time.”

Rethinking current product offerings

Carden points to a realtor association that found a new revenue source after examining an existing member benefit. The association determined that members were viewing and downloading the website’s realtor forms 350-times more than any other digital resource on the site. When the association’s sales team presented that data to sponsors, they turned an existing member benefit into a sponsored nondues revenue opportunity. 

Surveys are another way associations can turn an existing practice into a revenue opportunity. Carden shares the story of a nursing association that distributed one sponsored survey question to its members. The responses gave the sponsor valuable insight that informed the future marketing of their medical device product. 

“Associations are looking around at their existing assets and saying, ‘What can we put a name on, what can we put a name next to and getting sponsorship dollars that way,’” Carden says.

It requires some creative and strategic thinking, two qualities Carden says she is looking for in attendees of her Non-Dues-A-Palooza events. It’s part of the reason why she decided to make this year’s event free to attendees. She says she came to the decision after attending in-person events in the fall and realized associations were devaluing the ticket price by offering multiple incentives to get people in the door. 

“It's a way to bring really smart, curious people together to collaborate so they can help propel the missions of these really important organizations forward.”

To register for this year’s event, visit


Carolyn Shomali, Community Manager, PAR

Carolyn is the Community Manager for the Professionals for Association Revenue. Carolyn coordinates PAR's online content and is the host of PAR webinars. If you have a unique association story or strategy to share, email Carolyn at