Sophie Bujold: Even though community is on the rise as an opportunity for business, there are definitely a lot of people that don't realize that membership fees are not the only way. To monetize a community. And in fact, the membership fee can be adjusted strategically based on your community goals.
So that is the conversation I want to have today with all of you and really talk about some of the things that I have seen that have worked really well. Give you some examples of how those kind of tactics and approaches have worked for different communities and also give you a chance to. Start mapping out what might be some opportunities in your own community that you can start taking advantage of now and maybe even setting yourself up for success for a little bit later down the road.
So in terms of monetization, what I have seen work really well in communities generally falls in one [00:01:00] of four categories. They're on the screen right now. They usually come from two different sources. Your membership, I. Or what I call partners, and that can be other businesses, that could be, colleagues in your industry, things like that.
And in those two categories of like revenue sources, there are really two tracks. One is recurring revenue, which a lot of us are after and makes for stability and makes a lot of things a lot easier. But there's also a lot of really good. Ad hoc opportunities that can happen where it's either a one-time fee or a la carte service or whatever else.
So the first category of revenue opportunity you guys are very familiar with, that's the member recurring revenue, usually in the form of. Standard membership fee, premium tiers, if you thought about those. But the point is people are paying you for an ongoing access to an experience to whatever you are promoting in your community.
We're not going to spend a lot of time here [00:02:00] because you guys are already probably pretty familiar with that, just based on the platform that you're using, the other opportunities that start getting really interesting, and that can be actually really good. As you're starting your community these are opportunities that can be implemented almost immediately.
As you're thinking of that structure are the one-time access fees. And this is something that a lot of my brand new community builders dive into almost immediately as an alternate source of income. So that can be in the form of in community purchases, either for. Additional premium courses or content or access to events or even event recordings.
These are things that can be placed very easily within a community that are low effort for a lot of people and it's something that they actually can implement right from the beginning without having to worry about how big is my audience? Do you know, do I have enough interest to, [00:03:00] to attract a partner to my community at that point?
The other thing that falls into this category is when you get into things like live events or retreats. So in the online community world, some people talk about it and some people completely forget that they can bring their community offline once in a while, and it can be actually a very big strengthening factor for the sense of community.
To have people meet face-to-face and have that opportunity to connect that typically really helps with retention. It really helps with making people feel like they really are connected to this community. Another one that gets overlooked very often. Sounds really cheesy for, to some people, but can be really effective is merchandise.
So once you have that sense of community, and this one is a bit of a later stage strategy, but once you have people who feel very tied to the community, there's a culture that develops around that, right? There's Sayings that some people say [00:04:00] over and over again in the community. There's taglines, there's all kinds of things.
And I have had some community builders get requests for, I want a mug that says this, or I want to have a t-shirt that allows me to identify with this community and have been able to open their own very. Limited kind of merch store or done very limited releases of some of those items. So that can be a fun addition, but also one that if you plan properly, can add extra revenue as well.
And the last category, not for every community, but generally for communities that are built around a cause of some kind, donations or crowdfunding can be another really big source. Of revenue. So these are for people who are, maybe launching some initiatives. Again, very usually useful in the social cause space.
Hey, we're about to do a campaign for this and we need some funds to pay for our team and pay for different things. So that can be an option that works really well here. It can be a one-time thing. It could also be a recurring. That one could actually straddle your recurring and your ad hoc. It could be like a once a year fundraiser.
It could be a quarterly fundraiser. These are all really good options for anything that needs, for anything where your members are needed, targeting, targeted support, or where you are wanting to bring in some revenue around, again, the cause or a very specific thing.