This is probably a more appropriate question for your association's board of directors to answer. But here are a few thoughts to consider in case you are involved in that conversation:
- If the non-dues revenue source is directly at odds with the association's mission, that is a clear indication you should walk away from the opportunity. If your association is all about protecting natural resources, then raffling off a gas-guzzling monster SUV might not make much sense.
- The more common issues revolve around the gray area of unrelated non-dues revenue sources. This can range from the simple (promoting a low-cost phone plan) to the more complex (serving a completely different target audience). For example, if your association consists of restaurants, but for some odd reason you have a legacy program in place that generates non-dues revenues by selling something to movie theaters, should you? A good question would be whether doing so dilutes your brand equity and/or uses resources that could be better applied to your industry.
- Another argument can be made that any non-dues revenue, so long as it does not directly conflict with the association mission, is good non-dues revenue. That's because the proceeds can ultimately be used to support the association mission.
Does your association have a policy regarding the types of non-dues revenue it will seek? Have you had a discussion at a strategic level regarding this issue?