The pandemic proved to be a financial challenge for associations. Individuals and member organizations were on tighter budgets. And members’ behaviors changed. You may have noticed that your members were engaging with your organization in different ways. In general, members were certainly shifting to more online products and services, such as virtual conferences or online classes. These may have not been a big revenue generator for you, but they provided a much needed connection for your members and delivered value to them. Like others, revenue is most likely top of mind for your association. The good news is – you already have a treasure trove of information you can use to explore new revenue streams – your data!

We are going to share three ways to generate new revenue using your data.

1. Alignment

Use your data to optimize people and products. This means selling more of your existing products to your members at the right time. No two members are alike. People have different wants and needs. Perceived value proposition varies by member. Your data can help you determine the best alignment between people and your products and services.

Start by tracking your members’ behaviors. For example, are they opening newsletters, attending meetings, volunteering? And start segmenting data by categories that are relevant (e.g. age, geography, job type). Aggregate the data and look at it over time. Ask yourself if buyers share characteristics for particular products like:

  • Do members in different membership stages buy different things?
  • Are newer members buying different products than a 10+ year member?
  • Can you see if members in certain job functions are buying the same or similar items?

Once you have this information, you can optimize your marketing efforts to get relevant messages to the right people at the right time. You no longer need to send one email blast to your entire base. Use segmentation to make recommendations that help you get the best results from your marketing campaigns.

At some point, you can even take optimization to the next level with automated product recommendations. You’ve most likely had Netflix recommend programs to you that other people are watching based on your personal viewing habits. Or you may have experienced this when you made an online purchase. A retailer often shows you other items people like you have purchased. You can do the same with your members. If you see that someone who signs up for a webinar is similar to members who purchase a continuing ed course, you can promote that course to that member after the webinar. Read more about this concept and how to assess the true value of your products in this blog.

2. New Audiences

Find new individuals and organizations to expand the scope of your prospect base. Reimagine what you mean when you say “customers” and expand that definition. You may have a large universe of constituents who contribute to your association, for example, engaged non-members. These and other groups can fall under your new definition of “customers”:

  • Lapsed members
  • Partners
  • Affiliates
  • Attendees
  • Content contributors
  • Social media followers
  • Donors

Look at the engagement data for these segments to consider creating new membership types that represent the people who engage with your organization. This can increase membership which will increase revenue.

Note that even if you determine new membership types don’t make sense for your association, these segments of non-members engaging with you still represent opportunities for further engagement and incremental revenue. Following the alignment discussion from #1 above, look for patterns in the ways these segments engage with you. By better understanding what these non-members have in common, you can look for more of them and market existing products and services to them.

3. New Products, Services and Bundles

Mine your data to identify opportunities for innovative new products and services to create loyal members. Identify patterns and trends to align products and services to the member journey. Determine if you have compelling content and products for each stage of the member journey, then fill in the gaps. As you see how members are engaging with your products, and who those members are, you may determine that some of your products and services would be better adopted bundled together.

Case Study - NCARBSee how NCARB was able to leverage their analytical insights by launching a new publication for their industry.


Offer shared services. This is especially valuable for smaller associations with limited resources. Be the expert at some service that your membership needs (offer discounted insurance or legal services through your member benefits/affinity program) You will get revenue from these business deals. And you might find retention rates increase.

Get Started!

Implementing some or all of these examples should lead to exciting trends of increased revenue from products or increased membership dues because you have grown your member base. Continue to find other things that members want that will deliver on your value proposition. You need to look at your data on a regular basis to inform all of the decisions you make to increase earnings.

To learn more about how data can help you create new revenue streams, check out this on-demand webinar or schedule a call with one of our data-loving experts.