Knowledge Center FAQs: Affinity Programs

Start an affinity program to increase service to members and nondues revenue.

Q: How can I establish an affinity program that increases service to members and generates nondues revenue?

A: Affinity programs occur when an association sponsors a commercial product or service through the use of its name, logo, or mailing list and receives royalties from sales. The following resources offer advice on how to set up an affinity program.

"Case Study: Successful Affinity Plan Targets Member Needs," by Glenn Greenberg (Dollars & Cents, September 2008) details the National Association of Realtors' 10-year-old affinity program. NAR offers discounted auto and homeowners' insurance through Liberty Mutual. Participation has doubled since its inception because of the product's visibility and the variety of sales channels and payment options. The success of the program is attributed to commitment on the part of both NAR and Liberty Mutual to provide a product customized to members' needs.

The Power of Partnership by Plexus Consulting Group, LLC (ASAE & The Center and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2008) covers the essentials of developing a partnership among nonprofits, for-profit organizations, and government entities. When considering a partnership, think about how it would relate to the mission and strategic plan, the strengths and weaknesses of your organization, potential partners, and the tools needed to establish a partnership such as an agreement, guidelines, and ground rules. Read about the four elements of partnerships: readiness, identifying the right partner, formation (formalizing) of the partnership, and maintenance (managing) of the partnership.

"Affinity Programs," by Matthew J. Rowan, (Professional Practices in Association Management, 2007) discusses the factors to consider when setting up a program, such as UBIT, the association's roles and responsibilities, and legal issues. Affinity programs, if properly structured, can play an important role in generating nondues revenue and establishing good relations with companies and members.