How SAE Multiplied Non-Dues Revenue 10 Times

Non Dues Revenue
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Can An Association Multiply Non-Dues Revenue Ten Times In Three Years?
Here's How We Helped SAE Do It.

SAE International serves the automotive, aerospace, and off-road industries. Accordingly, they sought to make a much more significant impact on the industry than they did as a membership organization best-known for publications and technical standards, as well as generate a powerful stream of new non-dues revenue sources.


At the same time, SAE had a small portfolio of niche company affiliates serving manufacturers, which had never added up to much. As a result, they sought new non-dues revenue ideas and more diverse sources of revenue for the enterprise.


How could they use their minimal B2B footprint to build something that would significantly impact the industry and generate new non-dues revenue simultaneously?


SAE’s change agent, CEO Dr. David Schutt,  came to Sequence Consulting for our proven “Way to Play” process to create breakthrough strategies and launch non-dues revenue concepts that work 

How We Grow Non-Dues Revenue

The most successful growth strategies start with what the market needs but does not have and what unique assets and capabilities you offer. We call this exercise Way to Play. It points precisely to places where you have a Right to Win.


Our expert research with industry leaders showed that they need spaces to collaborate on pre-competitive technologies legally and confidentially, but those spaces did not exist. Many emerging technologies require industry-wide agreement on principles and best practices, from autonomous vehicles to cybersecurity. This was very important for the industry but very difficult to do without a trusted broker to facilitate.


Our Way to Play process revealed that one of SAE’s unique and powerful assets was its power to convene. That is, to bring players across the industry together in ways that would not happen otherwise. Their highly trusted brand, international reach, and long experience developing cross-industry standards made SAE the only player in the industry that could credibly create spaces for pre-competitive collaboration.


SAE launched the SAE Industry Technologies Consortia (SAE ITC). It is a 501(c)(6) that operates alongside the C3 membership organization. It provides a neutral venue for public and private organizations to come together and collaborate on shared industry challenges. To help bring those innovations to life, SAE ITC offers a full range of legal, marketing, data, and launch services that accelerate innovations.


Our Way to Play process was a breakthrough for SAE. It helped them see where there was an untapped non-dues revenue opportunity where they had an unmatchable competitive advantage—where they had the right to win. That clarity and depth of insight gave them the confidence to make a significant investment and a clear path to grow the new business quickly.

Their Non-Dues Revenue Multiplied

SAE ITC is a huge success. It has established SAE as the leader in cross-industry collaboration. In addition, it is a platform for SAE to grow through acquisitions and a significant net income stream. 

  • SAE ITC grew ten times over into a $6 million business in three years. 
  • It repaid its start-up costs in one year and generates a consistently high net income for the SAE enterprise.
  • It houses thirteen industry consortia addressing key industry challenges, from automated vehicle safety to aerospace engine quality.
  • SAE has made ten strategic acquisitions under the ITC umbrella. All of them have been successful.
  • Industry leaders come to ITC to solve their most strategic pre-competitive challenges. 
  • From the Big Three auto manufacturers to Silicon Valley to the Department of Defense, organizations come to SAE ITC to help solve problems no one else can.

Want to know more? Click here to learn more about how we help associations like SAE multiply non-dues revenue

How AARP Launched a $47 Million Non-Dues Revenue Startup

Association Revenue
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Can an Association Build a $43 Million Startup?
Here's How We Helped AARP Do It.

The largest association globally, AARP has enjoyed tremendous financial success from its non-dues association revenue offerings. Their outstanding products, services, and discounts have created terrific value for their members and robust partnerships with their affinity providers. 

AARP foresaw slow, steady growth in their affinity business, AARP Services, for years to come but few opportunities for new and exciting growth.

For many years, corporations had come to AARP seeking their expertise on older consumers. AARP knows more than anyone about people over age 50. They have decades of exclusive research and the largest database of 50+ individuals in America. 

They had been highly successful in developing high-value products for the 50+ market. Corporations wanted to benefit from that expertise, but AARP had never had a way to provide it.

If AARP could provide marketing insights and expertise to corporations in a way that was consistent with their mission of improving life for all as they age, the opportunity would be significant.

The challenge was to find a suitable model and create the business case to make a significant investment in a new business arena they had never entered before, to grow their market influence and association revenue.


Launching a Startup to Grow Association Revenue

Under the leadership of AARP Services CEO (and former Mastercard CMO) Larry Flanagan,  Sequence built the business plan from the ground up. Sequence had been a trusted strategic advisor to AARP for over ten years and had deep experience in for-profit startups and services businesses. In addition, our two decades of experience with major corporations and marketing agencies was extremely valuable in pinpointing the opportunity and creating a winning strategy.



The concept was to launch a marketing services agency, serving major corporations in the 50+ marketplace, leveraging AARP’s research, data analytics, and product development and marketing knowledge. Corporate marketers would come to the new agency for help creating and marketing products 50+ consumers wanted and needed, benefiting from a level of insight and expertise no other agency could offer. 

The goal was to write an airtight business plan to prove the revenue opportunity was there, that AARP could succeed, the plan to do it would work, and the association revenue opportunity justified the investment. 

We used all of the research and planning tools we had developed in our many years of experience to size the market, research the competition, understand their potential customers, and define an objective and sizeable opportunity. Their competitive advantage was obvious. The go-to-market required careful thought and planning, where our background in corporate development and marketing spanning both the for-profit and non-profit worlds was invaluable. 

Beyond market research, we developed detailed financial forecasts and operational plans to fund, launch, and build a new business that would generate significant new association revenue for AARP.

 The result was a credible, compelling business plan of the quality and depth that would inspire confidence in any investor, in this case, their Board, who approved a multi-million dollar investment in a new startup organization.


Successful Association Revenue Growth

AARP launched Influent50, an AARP Services agency, providing a full range of marketing services exclusively focused on the 50+ market. They assembled a world-class team of data scientists, strategists, and agency creatives with an exclusive license to AARP’s intellectual property (while never compromising member privacy). 

As a result, the team identified, understood, and communicated with 50+ consumers, unlike any other marketing firm in the country. 

They quickly attracted a roster of major corporations, including  Citibank, New York Life, the Hartford, and many others, to help them create and market products that would meet the needs of the 50+ market. 

Because Influent50 was able to bring AARP’s knowledge and resources to bear, the results they were able to deliver were tremendous:

  • Influent50 grew from a fledgling start-up to a $47 million business in three years. 
  • It created an entirely new revenue model for AARP, providing direct B2B value alongside their already successful affinity model. 
  • The agency was so successful that international corporations sought them out to re-create the model worldwide, in Asia and South America.

Sequence advised and supported them throughout the launch and growth phases, becoming part of the team and providing ongoing expertise and direction to guide their growth. 

In the words of Influent50 CEO Dave Austin, “We could have never done it without Sequence Consulting.”

Click here to learn how we help non profits like AARP grow association revenue.

Click here to read another non-dues revenue success story from a Sequence client.