3 Creative Ways to Get Your Association App Paid For

April 9, 2020

Native mobile apps are swiftly becoming the industry standard for associations. They promote a modern image of your association, while also serving as a better engagement medium for members. With a native mobile app designed specifically for your association, you can promote events, get real-time feedback, and manage contacts and content in one consolidated platform.

With that in mind, many associations are hesitant to jump on board due to the perceived high costs that come with creating an app. The perception that apps are too expensive to develop has rapidly become outdated, as new economical solutions to app creation have come to market. To pay for an app, raising membership dues or reducing other line item expenses to pay for it is not the only option. There are a number of creative solutions available to fund a new app for your association. Furthermore, app builders like MobileUp offer affordable customized or templated apps for year-round engagement.

Try one of these 3 creative ways to get your association app paid for:

1. Have a Sponsor Underwrite It

Most associations have a collection of sponsors looking for opportunities to increase their visibility. Such sponsorships enhance their exposure within the organization’s community and can be a direct line to potential customers. Offering one or more sponsors an opportunity to underwrite your app is mutually beneficial for both your organization and the sponsor.

In return for them paying for your association app, they can include their branding in certain features of the native app itself, at association events, on mailers/email blasts and more. You can also propose an agreement with the sponsor to maximize their exposure through your various publications and community events.

Keep in mind, there are two basic models for proposing this to sponsors:

  1. Communicate the opportunity to sponsors and gauge their interest. You can then collect a separate payment specifically for being a sponsor of the app from those who are interested.
  2. Offer a tiered sponsorship model for sponsors who are willing to pay more for additional benefits, such as being featured on the application’s home page. You can use a traditional “good, better, best” model and label each tier accordingly (bronze, silver and gold, for example). Lower tiered options would provide less exposure on the app, incentivizing them to upgrade to a higher tier.

2. Create Specific Event Sponsorship Options

Virtually every association nationwide hosts events, such as conferences, meetings and community activities. These events can serve as both a networking opportunity for members and an excellent sponsorship platform for organizations who want to gain exposure at the event. Events can center on specific purposes and topics, allowing you to target the organizations you’d like to reach out to and highlight the benefits of them

Once you’ve determined the specific nature of each event and pinpointed ideal sponsors, you can create a more compelling proposal. You’ll be able to show sponsors how they would benefit from having multiple points of exposure throughout the event and within the app.promoting themselves at a particular event. You can use the revenue generated from event sponsorships to help fund your association app.

When connecting with the right audience, event sponsorships can:

  • Raise brand awareness to association members
  • Provide opportunity to offer ‘show’ discounts and other promotions
  • Create an access lane to a specific consumer niche (i.e. your association members)

3. Create an In-App Sponsorship Directory in app sponsorship directory

In the event that you bring in multiple sponsors to fund your association app, consider creating a ‘sponsorship directory’ within the app. Sponsors can use the directory as a platform for listing member-specific discounts and promotions. Not only is it an asset for sponsors to have this ‘real estate’ on the app, it can also be positioned as an excellent perk for members, who will have access to exclusive discounts and promotions in the palm of their hand.

You can also arrange to send out recurring push notifications to members, leading them back to the Directory of Sponsors when new promotions or discounts are added. Although being featured on the app home page is an attractive benefit for sponsors, a dynamic directory will allow them to continually update their own space within the app. With the added benefit of push notifications, they can communicate promotions to your member base in real-time.

Weigh Your Options

Integrating a single, year-round native mobile app into your association should not have to be a major financial undertaking; there are a number of ways to create new revenue opportunities and avoid increasing expenses with a mobile app. Come prepared to your next association meeting ready to discuss a mobile app and the potential ways to pay for it with your team.

Bear in mind, you have MobileUp in your corner to provide you with a budget-friendly custom-branded or templated association app. Having an affordable app enables you to better engage with your members, boost retention and promote events in a single platform. It can also be leveraged to create new revenue opportunities, serving as an excellent platform for sponsors to connect with members.

Few other tools allow you to diversify revenue streams while creating a better member experience; this is part of what makes mobile apps such an attractive proposition. MobileUp is a highly configurable, SaaS-based mobile app builder that is not only customized to the needs of your association, but is more cost-effective than alternative software solutions.

Ready to take your association to the next level?

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