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Is it Time to Explore an Earned Revenue Strategy?

I was pleased to talk with my friend David Hartstein of Wired Impact for his post “How Nonprofits Can Accelerate Out Of The COVID-19 Pandemic” back in May. As I continue to help clients exploring new opportunities for revenue as their budgets change, it is worth a revisit. There are a few helpful excerpts below, and you can read the entire article over on the Wired Impact blog.


What are your earned revenue opportunities?

When an organization is considering a shift to earned revenue, Aimee recommends they start with what they already do. This could be a product you’ve created, like original research or a curriculum. It could also be a service, like a training or workshop. But by starting with something you’ve already developed, you’ll save yourself a lot of ramp up while ensuring what you’re offering is aligned with your mission.

How do you know which opportunity is best?

When considering introducing earned revenue as part of your strategy, Aimee recommends nonprofits start by auditing themselves. Specifically, she recommends starting with a few key questions:

What are you best at?

Who do you serve currently?

Who else would benefit from this product or service?

Is there a downside?

Aimee was quick to caution that earned revenue isn’t right for every nonprofit. “Too many organizations think it’s a silver bullet, and it’s not, ” she said. For some that jump into earned revenue, they’ll find it ends up being a drain on their organization and its ability to do all of the other good work they do. For that reason alone, it’s critical you have a measurement plan in place to track how much time and money you’re spending on the earned revenue side of things.


If you have some earned revenue ideas that you’d like to explore, now might be a good time! I have an Earned Revenue Guide that will help you ask the right questions, explore your opportunities and learn the building blocks of an effective strategy. You may find that earned revenue is a good addition to your existing revenue stream, while also making the most of your resources and raising your visibility.


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