Steven Worth, president of Plexus Consulting Group, explains three key considerations to keep in mind when growing or developing products and services meant to generate nondues revenue.
1. Stay focused on your mission. “There’s the concern that if you stray too far from your mission, the IRS could come down on you and say, ‘Well, these are unrelated incomes, and therefore it’s taxable as a for-profit business,’” Worth says. And don’t forget about mission creep. “If you’re not focused on what your overall purpose is and how these products and services fit into that purpose, then you can find yourself straying into areas where you’re not relevant or competitive—or worse, where you find yourself doing things that compromise your brand and your purpose as an organization.”
2. Do your market research. Follow the lead of for-profit organizations: Research your competition and analyze how you fit into the market. Look at “where the opportunities are and where the pitfalls might be,” Worth says. “It’s a new era in which associations are becoming much more sophisticated and, ultimately, able to become more relevant to the needs of the people and society they serve.”
3. Shift the culture. Determine how to integrate new initiatives into your organization’s culture and decision-making processes. Worth recommends asking questions like “How are we going to create a leadership surge of energy that’s going to push this through the organization where people will see the advantages and be willing to do new things?”