Event Planning for Member-Businesses to Grow Your Non-Dues Revenue

When you run a large business industry association, the general assumption is that you are rolling in cash. After all, you appear to be the nexus of thousands of successful business professionals and growing companies, therefore should have resources that reflect your industry’s success, right? Of course, you know that anyone who thinks like this doesn’t know how an association really works. Most associations rely on annual membership dues and the occasional event revenue for their organization funds which almost never leaves you with as much money as the public would assume. Even many of your members are likely to think that because you throw great events, that you have plenty of cash the rest of the year.

In reality, most large associations are always looking for new ways to build revenue without having to raise the cost of membership or make their events prohibitively expensive to attend. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of ways for an association to offer revenue-generating services to members beyond the annual convention. 

Hosting Events for Business-Level Members

One way to do this is to provide your event-throwing experience to business-level members. Most industry associations go beyond simply including individual professionals. Every year, companies put together a team to send to conventions and trade shows hosted by the association and in many cases, the businesses themselves are official members of the association and use this to their benefit.

And these business-level members, particularly businesses with multiple facilities across the country, occasionally need to throw large events that go beyond a simple office party or team dinner at a local restaurant. When this happens, they may greatly appreciate the connections, clout, and experience your association has to offer in putting together large special events.

Annual Dinners and Award Ceremonies

Many companies host an annual dinner for all employees including speeches from leadership, celebrations of landmark achievements, and awards for employee achievements. However, growing companies also frequently outgrow the initial venues they choose for these events. A startup may use a local restaurant, then graduate to a rented dining room, then grow again to occupy an event center. Eventually, the skills needed to plan such an event can exceed the casual event planning abilities of in-house staff.

Rather than contracting with a generic event planner for their next annual meeting, your association can offer your esteemed services instead. Holding an annual dinner and award ceremony hosted by a respected industry association adds more importance, elegance, and organization to the event itself. Leadership and employees will truly feel that they are moving up in the world with an official association-planned dinner and the awards granted will become even more prestigious because they were offered at an association event.

Training Seminars

Many business associations specialize in offering training for important industry certifications and professional development skills. After all, who knows better than you do what can help the members of your industry grow in their professional abilities? You may offer independent classes, seminars, and talks during your conventions that your members value highly. Certifications offered by the association or partners of the association are likely to be more effective and more trusted than private lesson plans.

Businesses also put together specific training events for their employees in order to bring individuals and whole teams up to speed or earn important industry certifications. With an established history of respected training programs, you can expand your revenue generation by offering to plan and host these events for member-businesses and can significantly improve the quality and enjoyability of these training events for each business’ attending employees.

Team Building Retreats

Of course, your event planning and hosting abilities don’t have to be limited to formal and training-oriented events. Many businesses put together gatherings specifically to help employees unwind and to build cohesion between teams that may face high-stress projects together in the future. From ropes courses and rock climbing to simulated project scenarios, team building retreats are a great way to reward hard-working employees and improve performance in the future.

With your experience throwing fun events and deep roots in the industry, your association could be the perfect resource for companies that do not have an established traditional procedure for hosting these team building events. Consider putting together a team building program or a set of options for businesses that would appreciate guidance and association-hosted events for their teams the next time they want to run a team-building retreat. You might even be able to put together a cross-business retreat that pits different company teams against each other for exciting simulated competition that may bring the event to life better than an insulated event.

Employee Reward and Appreciation Retreats

Then there are opportunities to throw seriousness and work concerns to the wind and host events that focus entirely on relaxation for members of your industry. Many companies build appreciation retreats and other event and vacation based rewards into their employment packages. Employees that do particularly well, win contests, or meet certain performance standards are often rewarded with vacations and recognition within the company and industry.

Cruises, luxurious hotel stays, and positions of honor at company events are all part of the potential package and you can help your member-businesses plan these events. Whether it is a golf retreat, fun at the beach, or an industry-oriented bonanza of relaxation and networking opportunities, your association is in the ideal position to offer real rewards to high-performing employees by throwing paid industry events for your member-businesses. This is also a great way to earn new individual members who are receiving awards from inside their company but have not yet attended an association convention.

Product Launch and Promotional Events

Many of these events are things that companies throw or contract an event planner to host on a regular basis. However, companies also need help with events that happen only once every few years like important product launches and promotional events. And who better to help them than an association of the industry they are making break-throughs in? With your experience in trade shows and conventions, you can use your event-planning expertise and connections to create spectacular product launch events that your business-members will appreciate.

Holiday Celebrations

Finally, there are events that are parties for the sake of partying. Holiday celebrations and company anniversaries are often reasons for a business to throw a party and invite every employee and their “plus ones”. With a business of any considerable size, these events are usually much larger than the office or even a large local restaurant can accommodate. Meaning the company will need to book an event center, caterers, entertainment, and more.

As an industry association, you can help out these businesses by providing the hosting services they need for these holiday bashes that everyone will enjoy. Help your business-members and their employees unwind a few times a year in style with all insider knowledge of how members of your industry like to relax.

If you’ve found that your association events are always a hit and a great source of revenue for the organization, there’s no need to throw excessive association events to increase your cash flow. Instead, offer that same enjoyable atmosphere and industry know-how to throw events for large companies that are business-level members of your association. From annual formal dinners to fun team building retreats, the events you host for others can serve to fill your treasury and build your reputation as an active and integrated part of your industry. Not to mention a fantastic party host. For more information about how to expand your association revenue through event hosting, contact us today!

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