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5 ways to increase your bottom line: SU edition

Are you a Students’ Union? No doubt, you’re looking for new ways to deliver the best student experience.

But let’s face it, funding can be tight and you need to get creative to support your operations and activities. We previously explored how to protect your Students’ Union from inflation and price hikes, but now we’re ready to consider some unique and exciting ways to bring in some extra revenue to support the student experience. 


Think outside the box

First off, think outside the box. Why stick to traditional revenue streams when you can tap into new and unique opportunities? For example, you can rent out space to local artists to host pop-up galleries or host a series of workshops or classes taught by experts in various fields. This not only provides something that students want and are willing to pay for, but it also generates additional income for your operations. Take the University of Bristol Students’ Union for example. hosts a series of workshops and classes taught by local artists, chefs, and entrepreneurs – and it’s been a huge hit.


Strategic partnerships

Another way to generate income is by developing strategic partnerships with local businesses and organisations. These partnerships can take many forms, such as sponsorships or collaborations on events or projects. Just look at the University of York Students’ Union; it formed a partnership with a local microbrewery to create a line of exclusive craft beers, only available at the Students’ Union. Not only does this partnership provide students with a unique and exciting product, but it also generates additional income for the union through sales of the beer.


Tap into advertising revenue

The student advertising industry is worth billions, yet no large agency has ever transacted directly with a Students’ Union. For brands, it’s time-consuming, and they can’t benefit from economies of scale that they desire. Consider how you can compete with traditional publishers to bring the power – and revenue – of students’ favourite brands straight to your Students’ Union. 

Students also benefit from great content on campus (80% actually miss brand experiences, according to Marketing Week). And the execution isn’t as complex as you might think; 54 Unions have turned to native to manage their Campus Media and to grow their advertising revenue stream year-on-year. 


Nurture your online offering

Finally, don’t be afraid to embrace the digital age. This can include developing an online store, offering digital subscriptions or memberships, or providing paid access to online resources and tools. Take the Glasgow University Union for example. It created an online store that offers a range of virtual experiences, such as virtual tours, virtual classes, and virtual events. It not only provides students with access to unique experiences, but it also generates additional income for the union through sales of virtual experiences.


Events that drive engagement

A well-rounded events programme is a sure bet when it comes to driving student engagement and generating income. Balance liberation content with IRL experiences, live music with club nights and you have yourself a line up that caters to all students. Consider add-ons like queue jump and merchandise, and ensure your food and drink meets student expectations, and you’re well on your way to a steady income stream. 


With a little creativity, there are loads of new and exciting ways to generate income that both supports your operations and enhances the student experience. Get in touch to discover the ways in which SUs work with us to grow their events and media revenue streams and boost student engagement.