Want an easy way to grow and retain your membership while increasing non-dues revenue?

My advice, implement a quality affinity program.

Affinity programs are business partnerships where an association offers exclusive rates or services to association members to increase revenue for both organizations.

Affinity programs span a broad range of service and product industries, so no associations are excluded from the benefits. What are the advantages of implementing an affinity program?

Core Affinity Program Benefits for Associations

The primary objective for associations is to provide as much value to their members as they possibly can. If you don’t have an affinity program, you are not accessing one of the easiest ways to bring immediate savings to your member’s bottom line.

By providing discounted contracts through an affinity program, you are creating one more way to earn your members’ trust so they look to you as the answer for all their business needs. Implementing an affinity program:

1. Helps you grow your membership

  • Cost benefits: If a member’s yearly dues are $1,000 to join the association and by joining they can save $5,000 by using your contracts, why wouldn’t they join?
  • Word of mouth: They will tell other people about the great deals they are receiving.

2. Helps with retention

  • Saving your members money will create loyalty to your association.
  • By providing contracts and cost savings, you are proving your association is a value add to their business.
  • You earn their trust.

3. Increases Non-Dues Revenue

  • As a member starts to purchase through these contracts, the suppliers will share a small percentage of the revenue back with the association. This income is typically residual and ideally grows year to year.

Core Affinity Program Benefits for Members

Often members will join an association to gain a quality resource that has greater connections than what they could find on their own.

The majority of small and medium-sized businesses know that if they search Google long enough, they can find at least some sort of discount with a supplier they need to purchase from. However, most are not interested in going through such a process, and either lacks the time to do so or are overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with it. Implementing an affinity program:

  1. Creates a one-stop-shop to help immediately cut a member’s expenses, which in turn allows them to invest this money elsewhere.
  2. Will find and provide a deeply discounted contract that the member would never find or have the ability to access on their own.
  3. Saves the member time by not having to search everywhere for a great deal or hire someone to ensure significant savings
  4. Provides contracts that are managed by a 3rd party who holds them accountable and is constantly trying to improve the overall value.
  5. Adds another layer of customer service if needed.

With all the benefits, having an affinity program might sound like common sense, but you would be surprised how many associations don’t provide an affinity program. Some are overwhelmed with the thought of running it, many don’t understand the value, and others don’t even know where to begin.

According to ACCE, for an affinity program to be successful, “there must be a true price advantage and value for the member. It is important to consider the reputation of the company as well as the revenue potential compared to the time investment of the program before entering into an affinity arrangement.”

To help, we’ve boiled the process of finding and implementing an affinity program into a couple of steps which we will publish in our next blog post. In the meantime, you can find out more about getting started with an affinity program for your association.

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