February 25, 2019

How a Member Portal Helps Associations Increase Non-Dues Revenue

How a Member Portal Helps Associations Increase Non-Dues Revenue

Associations are using technology in new ways to achieve strategic goals, including one of the most important goals: increasing member engagement. A member portal is first and foremost a member engagement tool, but it can also help your association diversify and increase non-dues revenue streams.

Make It a One-Stop Association Shop

Whether they’re on their phone, tablet, or desktop, members can find everything they need related to membership and your association in the member portal. Since you have their attention in the portal, you can also tell members about revenue-producing events, products, and services they don’t yet know about—or know they need.

A member portal is like a display window into your association. From the home page you can link to different engagement opportunities, like your online community, events, and certifications. But, you can also diversify your organization’s revenue streams by adding an online storefront where members can purchase products and services, for example:

  • Recorded webinar on industry trends
  • Salary survey report
  • Publication subscription
  • Credential study guide

Even if members don’t open and read your emails and newsletters, you can still show them what you have to offer in the member portal. It’s easier for them to click on the portal URL in their favorites or bookmarks to see what’s happening than it is to go searching for your last email in their inbox.

Simplify Group and Individual Event Registration

On the portal home page, remind members about the events already on their schedule, but also take advantage of their attention by promoting events they might like to attend. Link these promotions to event landing pages where they can learn more and register.

Members are used to quick, intuitive experiences on the other websites they visit. If you want to keep their attention focused on event registration, you can’t give them any reason to click away.

  • Keep registration forms short. Only ask for data you will use.
  • For group registrations, let members select attendee names from a drop-down list of organizational contacts, instead of forcing them to type in each name.
  • If the member has organizational login rights to purchase and manage tables and seats at events, allow them to assign and reassign individuals to specific seats.

Remove Barriers to Purchase

You’re up against all kinds of competition for a member’s limited time and attention: people interrupting them at work or home, email and text notifications, and other open screens on their laptop or phone. If you want them to keep coming back to your member portal or website, you must make their visit an efficient experience. If you wish to increase non-dues revenue, the member has to find and purchase what they need quickly.

Keep their transaction moving along with a streamlined checkout process. Visitors will be less likely to abandon their shopping cart—and the portal—if they can quickly purchase an ad, buy a book, or subscribe to a publication.

Don’t give visitors a reason to walk away from their computer or click away from the portal. If they wish, let them securely store their preferred payment method so they don’t have to find their wallet and type in a bunch of numbers. If they have permissions for both an organizational and individual member profile, make sure the portal dynamically associates the appropriate credit card with the profile they’re using.

A universal shopping cart makes it easy for them to keep purchasing. Let visitors add multiple items to their cart, for example, an event registration, a PAC donation, and the latest benchmarking survey report. When they’re ready to check out, they can make a single payment for those purchases.

Also, make sure your portal offers a persistent shopping cart. If members have a cart full of items but are called away to a meeting before completing their purchase, their loaded cart will be waiting there for them when they return to the portal—they won’t lose any time and you won’t lose a cent.

Give a Boost to the Dues Budget Too

Besides increasing non-dues revenue, the portal is also a great tool increase membership dues:

  • Recruit Members. Your member portal should display member and non-member pricing for events, publications, and other products and services. When non-members see the price difference, they may decide it’s time to stop paying a premium, and become a member instead.
  • Retain Members. When renewal emails aren’t opened and mailed invoices end up on the wrong desk, your association becomes out of sight and out of mind. You can prevent this type of oversight by displaying automated renewal notifications. Members see that little notification alert icon when they arrive in the portal and know immediately that something’s up. Notifications like this serve as a reminder to those who intend to renew. And, for those who are on the fence, the portal content reminds them of the value they’ve been receiving for their dues investment.

To learn more about how MemberSuite’s member portal can help your organization increase member engagement, improve the membership experience, and generate non-dues revenue, download the eBook.