It's important for associations to diversify their sources of funding. As is true for nearly any organization, over-reliance on one funding stream can become problematic when that source unexpectedly dries out. The challenge for associations is to broaden their fundraising while still relying on sources that are close to their mandate.
In short, it is up to association leadership to plan ahead. Many are doing just that. According to an article on Associations Now, more associations say they are earning increased revenue from sponsorships.
During the recession and the immediate aftermath, membership dues and meeting revenues fell for most associations. In response, these organizations had to seek out new options, and many ended up developing closer relationships with corporate sponsors who shared their goals.
The recent economic recovery has set the groundwork for more sponsorships that benefit both parties. According to IEG's recent survey, "The State of Association Sponsorship," 75 percent of associations say they have earned more sponsorship revenue this year. Some are doing this by upselling existing sponsors, while other are seeking out new categories of sponsors altogether.
These packages are good propositions for both sides. Associations earn revenue and a partner in their overarching goal, while sponsors gain a promotional platform of their own. But as sponsorships become an increasingly important source of revenue, associations should expect to develop customized packages to entice new sponsors. By focusing their energies on additional research, organizations can determine which partners will benefit them the most in the long run.