How to Make Revenue Without Events in WildApricot

WildApricot Updates May 15, 2020

Catherine Chea

By Catherine Chea

Many organizations are being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, especially those that heavily rely on events for revenue. Without knowing when the lockdown will be over, it’s certainly unsettling not being able to run events as usual. Making your event virtual is one way to go about this, but it may still not be enough to make up for lost revenue.  


So, what else can be done? 


The good news is that you don't have to rely solely on events to keep your organization running. I’ve asked organizations and experts at WildApricot for tips on how to make revenue online. 


In this post, you’ll find examples and advice that will continue to be relevant long after this pandemic. 


You’ll learn about:


Membership renewals  


If you have committed members who will be paying member dues, encouraging people to renew their membership can make a difference. A great piece of advice is to be honest and upfront in explaining your current situation with members. 


Hayley Birch, Membership and Events at Free Spirit, a community-based group of belly dancers and musicians based in Western Australia, shares her experiences asking people to renew their membership during COVID-19. 

  Hayley Birch Quote  

She explained that like many others out there, they had to meet their financial obligations. In addition to sending out emails, on the Free Spirit membership site, she created a section titled “What can you do to help,” which included the following message: 


Hayley made her members aware of her current situation, and how her community was unable to open their dance studio or host any events due to the coronavirus. By being truthful with them and asking them for support, members are more likely to renew their membership.  


On top of being transparent in your communications, you can also offer a discount code to incentivize people to renew their membership.


Click here to learn more about discount codes.  


Modifying membership renewals in WildApricot

In WildApricot, you can set up recurring payments, and change the renewal period and date for any membership level. You can do this by hovering over Menus and select the Levels option. There, you can select the level you want to modify, and adjust your policy settings from the Renewal policy tab. To enable recurring payments for a membership level, click Enabled under Automatic recurring payments.


Click here for more information about membership renewal settings. 


Online stores 


An online store helps your organization raise money and is another way for you to connect with your members while at home. WildApricot lets you create a store and easily set up a variety of products with stock limits.  


There are many ways you can stock up your online store. Here’s a list of ideas: 


Pre-recorded online courses 

Art classes? Online fitness training? If you or anyone you know have the relevant expertise and tools, then consider offering pre-recorded classes to members to keep them engaged. If you decide to make them member-only classes, this may also incentivize them to renew with you to keep accessing these classes. If plan to have live classes, then WildApricot’s event module would work better than the online store.   


Online resources 

Digital resources, such as e-books, magazines, or journals, are products that you can create with tools such as InDesign and Word. For inspiration, think about what topics members are interested in and what problems can you solve. You can ask members to contribute to your content. To encourage people to make a purchase, it helps to be generous with giving people more of a preview. For instance, in the product listing, you can include a few pages as images, so they have a glimpse of the content. 



If you already have merchandise that you usually sell in person, you can easily add them to your online store. If you have crafty members, you could even ask them to make some merchandise to support your community. In WildApricot, you can change your delivery settings to include a contactless delivery option. That way, customers feel reassured knowing that their parcels would be dropped off at their doorsteps to limit the spread of COVID-19.   


Membership gift card 

In WildApricot, you can create membership gift cards by using membership discounts, online store, and an email template. I created an example of how this can be done with the following steps.  


1. Creating a membership discount. Simply click Settings in the main navigation, then click the Discounts option within the Members section. Click the Add coupon button and then specify your settings before hitting Save.  


Please note: To prevent people from reusing the same gift card, you would need to create a new code for each gift card and limit the number of uses to one.


2. Adding a gift card to your online store. You can design your gift card with templates offered by tools such as Canva. You would then add the gift card as a product:  hover over the Store menu and select the Products option. On the screen that appears, click the Add product button. Click here for more detail. 


3. Sending a customized email with the discount code. When someone makes a purchase, you can send them and the recipient of that card (only if they provide this information to you in the shipping instructions) in a customized email. In the email, you would include the discount code that you created, which allows them to redeem towards their membership application.  


Please note: Membership discount coupons cannot be used for free membership levels, or for levels that use automatic recurring payments. Also, you cannot use discounts for a renewal if the Generate invoice and change status to Pending - Renewal option is enabled for that membership level. 


Click here to learn more about using WildApricot’s email templates.  




Even if you don’t have products or resources to sell, you could always ask for donations. Don’t be afraid to ask: many people are willing to donate to support missions they believe in. Free Spirit, for instance, raised over $1400 after sending members an email about their current situation and asking for donations. 


On Free Spirit’s website, there’s also a donation goal gadget to share the community’s progress and to motivate donations.  


Adding an online donation form in WildApricot  

You can make it easy for members to donate by adding an online donation form on your site. In the website module, click the Sites pages option. You would then add a page or click the page you want to add the gadget to and click Edit.


The Gadget icon will then be visible. When you click on it, a list of available gadgets will be displayed, including the donation form gadget.  You can then drag and drop the gadget to where you want it to appear on the page.  Click here to learn more.  


Making the most of WildApricot’s donation feature  

Setting up your donation form is just the beginning. There are many ways to make the most of the donation form feature to help you reach your donation goals. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Receive recurring donations by setting up this option (if you use WildApricot Payments).
  • Add a donation goal gadget to the website to share your progress and motivate donations.
  • Set up different donation types to go towards different aspects of the organization. That way, donors can connect to the change they’re making. For instance, if you have an alumni association for your institution, you can ask donors to support a specific department or funding.
  • Customize donor thank you emails to let donors know how much you appreciate their support.
  • Send regular emails to donors. Donors want to know that their contribution is worthwhile, so sending them regular emails showing the difference they’re making would encourage future donations. In WildApricot, you can do an advanced contact search for donors and add them to your contact list for the emails.  

Also, if you’re planning a fundraiser, have a look at this post on 20 Online Fundraising Ideas Perfect for Any Cause. 


Looking at other opportunities 


If you tried the above options and still need more revenue, there are some other opportunities available to you.  


For instance, through WildApricot’s customer referral program, you can earn commissions by referring new users to WildApricot. When they upgrade to a paid account, you will get 10% of their monthly charge for two years. Click here to learn more about customer referrals.  


You can also look at numerous grant opportunities and support for organizations. For a comprehensive list of funds and grants available for US and Canadian nonprofits, click here.  


If you have any creative ways to generate revenue, please feel free to share them in the comment below.  


Best of luck! 

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