Is your association looking for a way to generate non-dues revenue? Affinity Programs can create additional income while also adding an incredible new benefit for your members.
Simply put, an Affinity Program, as defined by the ASAE Handbook of Professional Practices in Association Management, is:
“a relationship between an association, an association’s members, and an external business.”
So, basically, an association receives compensation for giving a business permission to promote certain products or services to its members. In turn, the member traditionally receives lower prices for certain products or an enhanced customer experience they wouldn’t receive otherwise.
Though starting an Affinity Program may seem intimidating, ensuring you have these three must haves will help the program run smoothly and generate your association that desired non-dues revenue for years to come.
1. There Must Be A Need
First, and most importantly, there must be an actual need for the product or service the external business will be promoting. Today’s member isn’t interested in a small discount or a product unrelated to your association’s mission. They’re looking for unique products and meaningful services that meet their specific needs.
An easy way to see if this product is something your members will get excited about is to email a simple poll to gauge their interest. Make sure to provide your members with as much information as possible about the business and products so they can educate themselves and answer accurately. You don’t want your members thinking they’re receiving one thing only to find out it’s something entirely different once the program officially rolls out.
2. You Must Have A Strong Agreement
Behind every successful business relationship is a strong and clear agreement. This is no different for Affinity Programs, so make sure to contact your legal counsel once you decide your association wants to work with an external business. While your legal counsel will know what is best to include in the contract in regards to your specific agreement, some items you may want to consider including are:
- Marketing Responsibilities
- Performance Expectations
- Legal Obligations and Liabilities
- Reporting Expectations
- Causes For Termination
3. There Must Be Ongoing Monitoring
Finally, part of any thriving Affinity Program is ongoing monitoring. Depending on the size of the program, ensure that the external business will be sending you quarterly reports. Additionally, setting up in-person meetings or conference calls at least twice a year can ensure both parties are receiving their desired results.
Do you have questions about creating that perfect Affinity Program for your association? Or do you need help managing or revamping a current program? Contact IMI Association Executives! We’ve helped our clients create and maintain successful Affinity Programs, and we’re ready to help you. Contact us or submit an RFP today.