As the creator and provider of a ton of content that has very high value to all of your association’s audiences, you are sitting on an incredibly valuable asset that can increase your association’s revenue. All you need to do is creatively think of ways you can turn content into something that your audiences will pay for. To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas:
Example 1: “Best of” Series
While I worked at National Geographic, the association used one of its core capabilities—great photography—to its financial advantage. Over the history of the National Geographic, a huge number of incredibly high quality, emotionally moving photos have been taken and used in its magazines. These photos were already in the association’s inventory and nothing was being done with them despite how much people enjoyed them. The association realized how in demand these photos were and put together a number of “best of” publications that included their best photos.
Benefit: The “best of” series was a big hit, and it generated quite a bit of revenue for National Geographic at a rather low cost. The photography was already owned by the organization, so there were no purchasing costs. All it took to bring the series to market was some staff time and the cost to print and distribute the publication.
Example 2: Special Issues
While working at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, I was always testing new premiums that would be effective in helping recruit members as an enticement in our direct mail campaigns. I was looking for something that recipients would find valuable but also would be cost effective. One of the solutions I found was to take content that had already been published in Science and compile it into “special issues” of Science. They were small booklets sent to every new member who joined within a certain time frame after receiving the direct mail piece.
Benefit: Just like the photos from National Geographic, we used content that already existed, so no new expense was required to get the content. Staff compiled the articles and printed them in a format that showed quality to the recipient, but also was cost effective to produce and mail. The booklet worked very well in our recruitment campaigns, and we were also able to sell them online to our existing members.
Over the last few years, many of us have been asked to cut costs. If you think creatively and use the assets you already have on hand, you have a good chance of growing revenues while expanding awareness of your organization and improving membership numbers at the same time. This is a much better solution to financial challenges than continuing to cut expenses.