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Associations Increase Social Media — But It's Not a Revenue Source - 8/13/2014 -


Associations Increase Social Media — But It’s Not a Revenue Source

New study provides data on associations' income from sponsorships, advertising, and other media assets, showing that while nonprofits are embracing digital media, their revenue is coming from elsewhere.

By Debra J. Stratton

Association media professionals are tapping multiple platforms to generate revenues, according to the latest study from Angerosa Research Foundations. Associations generate an average of $1.268 million annually from advertising, sponsorships, and other assets in print, digital, social media, and more. And revenues are growing: Over the past three years, nondues revenues have increased for nearly half of associations reporting in the study and now represent nearly half (46 percent) of total association revenues, according to the newly released research report sponsored by Stratton Publishing & Marketing.

The latest Association Media Nondues Revenue Study gathered data from association publishers regarding their key sources of publishing- and media-related revenue, median ranges of revenues, operations and staff structures, and new revenue-generating areas being explored. As association media professionals seek new ways to help underwrite operations, identifying and leveraging multiple platforms in an integrated approach to sales has become critical, shows the report.

Data in the report is cross tabulated by scope of association (national/international v. state/local/regional), association budget size, and type of association (individual membership, trade association, and foundation/other), allowing associations to benchmark their associations’ performance against others. Print and e-book sales revenues, web advertising, content sales, and subscription revenues are all tracked in the study, with financial performance data segmented by type of association, budget size of the association, and scope.

Specifically, the report shows how associations are tapping print and digital revenue streams to better support content delivery. Findings include:

  • Advertising and sponsorships in print media remain strong generators of nondues revenue, accounting for 73 percent of mean annual revenues.
  • Digital media revenue continues to climb, making up 27 percent of all media revenues.
  • Web advertising generates an average of $58,000 annually, plus $30,000 on microsites/consumer sites.
  • Associations are increasingly embracing apps, with 96 percent making them available for free. Those that do offer paid apps generate a mean of $31,000 in annual revenue.

The report also notes a continuing expansion of social media use by associations — however, it has found that revenue from social media-related sources is limited.

The Angerosa Research Foundation conducts research to benefit the association publishing and marketing professions. The foundation also provides tuition scholarships to emerging communication professionals each year under its Rising Star Scholarship program.

Debra J. Stratton is president of Stratton Publishing & Marketing.


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