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What to Do When Association Revenue Drops

Updated: Mar 19

While it’s common for associations to experience periodic fluctuations in revenue, a substantial or sustained decline in income can be cause for concern. If your association currently finds itself in this challenging situation, don’t panic — there are actionable steps you can take to reverse this downward trend.

At Vendere Group, we’ve created this short guide to help you regain control over your bottom line and ensure the long-term viability of your organization. Here’s what we recommend:

A drop in sales can be caused by both internal and external factors. External factors are elements that are outside an organization’s control, such as changes in customer behaviour, economic downturns and geopolitical disturbances. Internal factors, on the other hand, are things that an organization has the power to change, many of which can be addressed easily using a membership management system such as Membri 365.

Let’s look at some common internal factors and how they impact sales:

  • Communication problems:

Problems on the administrative and management side of your operations can cause your sales team’s performance to decline. Poor communication between the various groups within your association can also lead to a drop in income, particularly if everyone has different information and objectives. When these factors are at play, team members can become demotivated. However, this issue can be avoided by automating administrative tasks and communications using a CRM (customer relationship management) or membership management solution.

  • Underpriced membership fees:

Membership fees count for a significant portion of association revenue drops. If not set correctly, these fees can discourage people from joining or renewing their membership. A high rate is often seen by members as an indicator of quality and prestige, while an overly low rate may suggest that the organization can’t be taken seriously. If you’re considering modifying your organization’s membership rates, it’s a good idea to first test your pricing strategy with your target audience (for example, by using surveys or focus groups) to determine the ideal price point. Another possibility to consider is having a tiered pricing structure with different membership levels, each offering increasing benefits.

  • Insufficient or poorly articulated value:

Members need to feel that the benefits they receive are worth — or even outweigh — the cost of their membership. Your association’s membership options should therefore be developed based on what your members are hoping to get out of their investment. But how can you determine what members really want? One way is to periodically distribute surveys to members to determine how well your organization is meeting their expectations and what you could improve. Once you have adjusted your offer to align with members’ needs, be sure to clearly communicate the value of membership to existing and potential members through strategic marketing, website content and personalized communications. Other value-adding strategies to explore are trial memberships, special promotions and early renewal incentives.

  • Poor event scheduling:

Holding events or training sessions is a great way to boost sales — as long as they’re offered at the right time. If you hold activities during holiday periods or industry-specific busy seasons, you are likely to see low participation numbers and lose out on opportunities. Maximize attendance by identifying less busy times of the year for your members and scheduling activities in those blocks.

While optimizing your membership program is key, it’s just as important to set realistic goals for your organization’s growth. Here are some examples of goals that your organization could integrate into its strategy to improve sales performance:

Association Revenue
Association Revenue

1. Increase recruitment of new members

2. Reduce membership cancellation rate

3. Increase average dues per member (e.g., from $5/month to $10/month)

4. Increase annual revenue from memberships

Establish clear, quantifiable performance indicators that will allow you to determine whether your goals have been met. For example, you could set what percentage of newsletter subscribers you would like to become paying members, or how many non-members you would like to attend your annual golf tournament.

Quantifiable indicators are very useful, but certain aspects of improvement can only be measured qualitatively. One example of qualitative data is the feedback or suggestions you receive from members via email and social media. Through careful analysis of qualitative information, you can identify recurring themes and valuable insights.

Performance indicators can be easily integrated into membership management software such as Membri 365, allowing you to monitor and evaluate your organization’s progress toward achieving its goals.

Examples of quantitative performance indicators:

  • The number of tickets sold for a given activity

  • The number of participants in a given activity compared to the previous year

  • The number of memberships sold by a given sales representative

  • Total membership sales (in dollars or number of memberships, monthly or annually)

  • Percentage of revenue from memberships

  • Growth in new memberships (monthly and annually)

  • Average dues

  • Number of members at each membership level

  • Revenue generated (over a given time period or from lead conversion)

  • Events (in dollars and numbers)

  • Donations and grants received (in dollars and numbers)

  • Contracts awarded or partnerships established (in dollars and numbers)

Growing sales is essential to your organization’s health, and the quantitative indicators listed above are relatively easy ways to measure progress made toward achieving your objectives. Qualitative data, however, takes more effort to measure as there are no numbers to easily draw from. Let’s say, for example, that you want to know how existing and potential members perceive your organization’s added value or what benefits your existing members feel they are getting from their membership. Here some ways to gather relevant data for analysis:

  1. Surveys: Ask open-ended questions about members’ expectations, preferences and suggestions for improvement.

  2. Feedback forms: Send out feedback forms following events.

  3. Monitor social media to capture member sentiments and opinions.

That said, don’t wait for feedback collection opportunities to start strengthening your reputation and relationships with members. Be proactive — use reliable communication tools that suit your members’ needs, reach out to your membership regularly and host broadly appealing activities to bolster your membership pipeline.

The majority of associations in Quebec have begun their digital transformation. Using these powerful new tools, they can tell where they stand financially at a glance. Remember: in today’s fast-paced world, offering your members high-quality services is no longer enough — using technology for your day-to-day operations is equally vital.

Many people think that CRM software merely stores customer data, but it does so much more than that! CRM solutions are highly dynamic and provide you with information about your association in real time to help you make informed decisions. Good membership management is key to efficient administration, so why not use a membership management tool that will help you achieve your goal and increase your association's revenue?

Without a dashboard in your car, there’s no way to tell what speed you’re going or how much gas you have left — the same goes for your organization! Imagine being able to see at a glance how your sales are progressing, how many leads have been converted and how far you are from achieving your goals. With just a few clicks, Membri 365’s integrated, customizable dashboards give you a bird’s-eye view of all this and much more.

Dashboards let you monitor your sales team’s performance and receive alerts when the organization isn’t on track to meet its indicators. You’ll be able to make better business decisions and course corrections much more quickly, while also being able to share data easily with your team members.

Association Revenue
Association Revenue

On the Membri 365 dashboard, you can :

  1. See your sales and memberships

  2. See accounts payable and receivable

  3. See how association revenue fluctuate

  4. Generate graphics and reports

  5. Monitor registration for events

  6. Visualize your KPIs

  7. And much more!

You can choose from a variety of default dashboards or create a customized dashboard of your own. We know that every association has different objectives and performance indicators, so we’ve designed Membri 365 to allow you to identify what matters most to you and create relevant statistics around those elements. See Membri 365’s dashboards here!

association revenue
Association Revenue

By leveraging the data and insights provided by a Membri 365 dashboard, your association can gain a deeper understanding of its membership, operations and overall effectiveness. This information will empower you to make informed decisions, refine your growth strategies and stay ahead in an ever-changing marketplace.

Vendere Group offers a full suite of CRM products and services powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365. Membri 365, our CRM solution, allows you to monitor your association’s revenue and how it progress more easily and efficiently, while also better understanding and growing your membership. Build the long-term success of your association with Membri 365.




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