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Non-Dues Revenue Opportunities

"Using the Internet to Increase Revenue"
By Kate Marlys, Administrative Director

Webinars are becoming increasingly prevalent in this fast-paced business world in which we live. Due to time and monetary constraints, it is often difficult for members to travel for specific training classes or conferences. Webinars offer a new, easily accessible way to learn right in the office.

By definition, webinars offer training sessions via the internet, hosted by a speaker over the telephone. If you have never attended one, you probably will in the future. Webinars prove to be particularly helpful for associations that have members all over the country or even the world. Members simply log on to a specific website and dial a toll-free telephone number. Then, along with colleagues, sit back, listen, and learn. Typically, companies invite several people to attend the webinar together.

When planning a webinar, a knowledgeable and engaging speaker should be selected. Remember that it is challenging for a speaker to hold the attention of attendees over the phone, so select someone with enthusiasm in his voice. It is also important to choose a relevant, thought-provoking topic. Review your conference evaluations to determine which speakers received the highest ratings and contact them. In addition, it is recommended to hold the question and answer session until the end for the most effective flow of information.

I have personally helped put together several webinars and am currently planning the next one. You should ask participants to fill out an evaluation form immediately following each webinar, just like you would do for an in-person session.

In addition to being a convenient educational opportunity for your members, webinars are also a great source of non-dues revenue for the association. Getting started with the first webinar will require a little more effort on the front-end to effectively market the concept; however, you can use the success of the first program to promote future ones.

We all know that it is challenging for an association to hold the interest of members after the annual conference is over. In fact, many members join an organization solely for the networking and education provided at the annual conference. Providing monthly or quarterly online learning opportunities throughout the year can be an effective method of keeping members engaged and excited about the association all year long.