Need More Nondues Revenue?

The results of REALTOR® AE magazine’s December nondues revenue survey indicate that making money to fund association operations, programs, and events is increasingly important. Not only did most respondents say generating revenue is a priority at their REALTOR® association, but comments indicate that efforts to find more revenue streams are growing. Several survey respondents said decreasing income from education offerings, both CE and non-CE, is prompting a fresh look at generating revenue from other sources and from outside the REALTOR® organization.

How important is generating nondues revenue?

64% of survey respondents indicate that generating nondues revenue is a top priority or a priority. No respondents indicated that generating nondues revenue was not a priority.

What percentage of operating budget comes from nondues revenue?

The largest percentage of respondents report nondues revenue makes up 6% to 10% of their annual budget.

How do REALTOR® associations generate nondues revenue?

Survey participants were asked to select which of these 17 nondues revenue-generating programs they participate in and write in any programs not listed.  Most respondents (93%) generate nondues revenue with affiliate member dues. Write-in programs included a local real estate buyers guide for consumers, a group email service, a mortgage-rate catalog that lenders pay to participate in, lockbox programs, late fees, investment income, and MLS violation fines.

What brings in the most money?

The largest revenue generators at REALTOR® associations, according to survey respondents, are MLS dues or fees followed by CE classes and then affiliate member dues. 

Need More Nondues Revenue?

Best revenue-generating events

Continuing education classes remain the top money-making event, respondents said, even though several report that competition is growing for offering these events and revenue is dipping.

What members say they would pay for

Most respondents (43%) say they have never surveyed members about what types of products, events, or services they would pay for. Nearly the same number (40%) have asked members, and the most common response was that members wanted more free classes and events. One respondent wrote: “Leadership at our association has always felt that members should get significantly more for their dues than is possible to give them.” Other respondents said their member surveys showed REALTORS® would be willing to pay for shorter and higher-quality CE classes, more networking events, and technology classes.

Sell services to consumers

Less than 2% of respondents said they provided services to consumers for a fee, such as homeowner fairs or home improvement classes.

Where ideas come from

76% of respondents said they involve their Board of Directors in generating ideas for new nondues revenue programs or projects.

Revenue-generating programs that fell short

  • “We scheduled our CE classes to partially overlap, which did not work for most members who wanted to attend both.”
  • “Our trade show sunk because the location was not geographically convenient for everyone.”
  • “Designation class failed to attract attendees. Members are too busy to take the time to learn more.”
  • “Our social comedy night fell through because members were just not interested in attending the event.”
  • “Any time we had a program that failed to provide a return, it’s because the committee or leadership team organizing the event didn’t give it their all. There is only so much that staff can do to contribute to the success of any event. It takes strong volunteer leaders to help make it a hit.”
  • “An affinity program with a closing gift provider ended up having a setup cost that was too expensive, plus the leadership felt they could get equal or better quality items for less on other websites or on Amazon.”
  • “We had a clothing bin drop-off at our office for a short period of time and promoted it to members. It was supposed to generate a few of hundred dollars a month [from a local secondhand store], but after a few months they removed it because there were hardly any drop-offs.”
  • “Our CE classes do not return as much as we would like. There is just so much you can charge for a class, and competition with other sources is tight.”
  • “Darn near every affinity relationship we partnered with has failed. They take constant marketing and training in some cases, and we don’t have the staff to support the extra work.”
  • “Our store is provided more as a member benefit than a real revenue generator.”
  • “Non-CE classes have been a disappointment, as has rental of our classroom to members and affiliates. Just not much response to either.”
  • “CE agents are going online and not paying for classroom CE.”
  • “Our store is provided more as a member benefit than a real revenue generator.”
  • “Darn near every affinity relationship we partnered with has failed. They take constant marketing and training in some cases, and we don’t have the staff to support the extra work.”

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