How 3 Associations Are Driving Innovation and Revenue Growth Through Strategic Partnerships

Learn how three associations forged new ways to grow non-dues revenue, drive innovation, and enhance member engagement without straining internal resources.

Is your association feeling the strain of limited resources in its quest for new revenue streams? You’re not alone. Generating non-dues revenue is the No. 1 challenge associations face, according to Association Adviser's Association Benchmarking Report. And the two most commonly cited obstacles to pursuing new revenue opportunities include being “understaffed without enough bandwidth” and having “limited resources.”

Balancing your core mission with the urgent need to diversify revenue can be overwhelming. Could strategic partnerships offer associations a more efficient path to innovation and revenue growth? In our last article, we explored how partnering with a third-party expert can unlock new opportunities, save valuable time, and drive innovation to provide value for your members.

As Teri Carden, founder of Non Dues-A-Palooza explained in an interview, a partner aligned with your organization’s culture and mission is “able to bring that level of expertise and global perspective to the table to help you be more efficient and successful in providing tangible value to your members while growing your revenue.”

To find the kind of ideal partner Carden talks about, one that can help you drive revenue while providing tangible value to members, we also wrote about the essential qualities associations should look for in a revenue partner.

Now, in the third and final installment of our three-part series on how strategic partnerships can drive innovation and revenue growth, we offer examples of how three associations successfully partnered with Lead Marvels. These use cases demonstrate practical applications of the principles discussed in our previous articles, offering valuable insights and inspiration for association executives evaluating whether to explore similar paths.

How the ACC partnered to address its sponsors' needs

The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) faced a challenge common to many associations: their sponsors desired a year-round lead generation program, preferably on a pay-per-lead model, which its traditional sponsorship programs could not fulfill.

"Our sponsors began asking for a different kind of pay-per-lead model, one that was more turnkey for them," says Moustafa Abdel-Kader, ACC’s Senior Director of Business Development. "We needed a solution that required minimal internal resources while providing substantial value to our sponsors and members."

To address this challenge, the ACC partnered with Lead Marvels to create a custom online Resource Library branded as the Partner Knowledge Center. The solution provides sponsors with an effective, easy-to-use program that aligns with their content syndication and business development needs.

The Partner Knowledge Center, populated with industry-specific white papers, webinars, and case studies targeted at ACC members’ informational needs, has significantly boosted member engagement and generated more than $1 million in non-dues revenue for the ACC since its launch in 2020.

One of the key successes of this initiative is the minimal effort required from ACC’s internal team. "Running the platform from ACC’s perspective only requires about 45 minutes a week to send emails and newsletters alerting members to new content," Abdel-Kader notes. "Lead Marvels handles everything else — from creating the landing pages and capturing leads to installing a dashboard for tracking key metrics."

The success of the Partner Knowledge Center has established it as a top non-dues revenue source for ACC. "It’s a no-brainer for our sponsors," Abdel-Kader explains. "The quality of the leads they’re getting is high, and it’s performance-based, so they only pay for what they get. This is particularly beneficial when budgets are tight and digital solutions are crucial."
Case Study:

How Two Associations Deepened Member Value While Growing Non-Dues Revenue

How NAEA partnered to drive deeper member engagement

The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) sought to deepen member engagement through a strategic partnership with Lead Marvels. NAEA’s goal was to provide members with timely, valuable content while also generating non-dues revenue.

The challenge NAEA faced was significant: capturing and retaining members' attention, especially during busy tax seasons, with limited internal resources. “There’s so much information out there . . . It’s become increasingly difficult to capture our members’ attention,” explains Kelli Comegys, NAEA’s Director of Membership & Business Development.

To address this, NAEA launched the NAEA Knowledge Center in the spring of 2022, leveraging Lead Marvels’ white-labeled Resource Library platform. This digital hub houses curated content such as white papers, guides, ebooks, and webinars specifically geared toward enrolled agents.

"The Knowledge Center allows us to get good content out to members," says Comegys. “Having curated content from partners that we know are recognized and respected in the industry is really important and beneficial to us.”

One of the critical advantages of the Knowledge Center is its real-time analytics dashboard. This feature allows NAEA to monitor which content resonates most with members, enabling them to adapt and refine their content strategy dynamically.

“We can actually see in real-time if we were right with our assumptions about what content will be helpful for our members,” Comegys notes. This real-time insight has proven invaluable in understanding members' needs and preferences, particularly during peak times like tax season.

The impact of the Knowledge Center has been substantial. Since its launch, NAEA has seen a significant increase in member engagement and a steady stream of non-dues revenue. It has also created new opportunities for NAEA’s sponsors. “We’ve attracted some large, new advertisers that haven’t been on our radar, which has been a benefit for members, too,” says Comegys.

By leveraging Lead Marvels’ platform, NAEA has created a scalable, efficient solution for delivering high-quality content to its members. As Comegys puts it, "The Knowledge Center is providing more value because timely content is a huge piece of what makes membership associations successful. It’s really helping us to connect with our members in a way that we weren’t before."
White Paper:

What Your Sponsors Want and How to Optimize for It

How the State Bar of Texas partnered to create a recurring revenue stream

Like the ACC and NAEA, the State Bar of Texas sought to diversify and grow its revenue while minimizing the workload on its limited marketing team. To do so, it needed a new program for its advertisers and sponsors beyond traditional display ads.

“We wanted to provide our advertisers with something that we had never been able to do before, but we weren’t sure we’d have the manpower to pull it off,” explains Susan Brennan, Marketing and Member Benefits Director for the State Bar of Texas.

The solution was the creation of an online Resource Library, branded as the State Bar of Texas Knowledge Center. The new platform, hosted and managed by Lead Marvels, allows advertisers to post premium content and generate leads on a cost-per-lead basis. “The sponsors love it because it gives them leads in real-time,” Brennan notes. “And it’s a cost-per-lead model, so if they don’t receive a qualified lead, they don’t pay. So, there is really no risk for them.”

This initiative provided a dual benefit: it supplied valuable resources to members and created a new, reliable revenue stream for the association.

The partnership with Lead Marvels has allowed the State Bar of Texas to expand its advertising network, attracting new advertisers and generating revenue that supports other member programs without straining internal resources. “It’s been very helpful and is working out well. It’s an important part of our organization’s non-dues revenue pie and has definitely grown that part of our revenue,” says Brennan.

Is a partnership with Lead Marvels right for your organization?

At Lead Marvels, we’ve developed strategic partnerships with more than 100 associations. As each use case above illustrates, the three primary value drivers that we offer our association partners include:

1. Non-dues revenue growth: Our digital Resource Library platform offers industry vendors and advertisers unique business development opportunities through the syndication of their sponsored content. This approach generates recurring revenue that we share with our association partners, without them having to assume additional financial risk or invest in new resources.

2. Deeper member engagement: Because our digital Resource Library platform is seamlessly integrated into association partners' websites, it provides members with access to content written by subject matter experts, keeping them informed and engaged with valuable resources targeted to their informational needs. Through this enriching content experience, associations can maintain strong member connections and foster continuous engagement.

3. Resource management: Lead Marvels fully manages the Resource Library platform, including hosting, sales, content, marketing, and financial aspects. This turnkey solution allows associations to focus on their core missions while benefiting from new revenue streams and increased member engagement with minimal effort from their internal teams.

To explore whether a strategic partnership with Lead Marvels is a fit for your organization, schedule a no-obligation demo.

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