Association Members Seek Evolving Benefits

Associations are doing better at attracting and keeping members at all generational levels but the up-and-coming Millennials and Gen Zers are least likely to be satisfied and planning to renew. But, those who feel extremely connected to an association tend to be more “extremely connected” than Gen Xers and Boomers.

That is some of the data from a member engagement and loyalty study released this week by Community Brands during its Xperience 2019 conference at the Disney Dolphin hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Parallel surveys were conducted with more than 1,100 members of professional membership organizations and 400-plus professionals who work at those organizations. The surveys were conducted by Edge Research.

Professional membership organizations must continuously prove their value to members. Those who responded to the survey gave their organization stronger performance scores across the board than in years past. Those early in their careers are more likely to feel connected to their organization and be satisfied with membership. This group is also less likely to commit to renewing and less likely to promote their association to their peers.

Members prioritize benefits differently throughout the career lifecycle. For example, job opportunities are critically important to those members who are early in their careers, while those who are mid-career find professional training most valuable, according to the data. Over time, these benefits become less important, while other benefits — including code of ethics and timely industry information — become more valuable.

“Digging deep into member sentiments, we see that members join organizations for different reasons than why they stay,” said Erin Shy, managing director, Association and Nonprofit Division at Community Brands. “As associations develop their strategies, it’s important for them to understand what benefits members value at various career stages and which drive recruitment, engagement and renewal,” she said.

Additional findings from the report include:

 

  • Professional membership organizations must continuously prove their value. Those early in their careers are more likely to feel connected to their organization and be satisfied with membership than those later in their careers. However, early careerists are also less likely to commit to renewing and less likely to promote their association to their peers. The data suggests that to keep these members around long term, organizations must regularly prove their worth.
  • Organizations have work to do around some benefits that are most valuable to members. Members are satisfied with many of the benefits they consider most valuable, including industry information, code of ethics, trainings, and advocacy. Conversely, there are some areas – including job opportunities – that members value most, in which organizations have opportunities to improve.
  • Organizations underemphasize the importance of job opportunities. Job opportunities are one of the most important benefits to members from when they join through the early career stage. Association professionals, on the other hand, do not rank job opportunities at the same level of importance.
  • Continuing education is not just for meetings and conferences anymore. Association professionals believe meetings and conferences, which traditionally have focused on training and continuing education, are one of the most important benefits they offer. Yet, members rate them as a lower priority. The findings hint that it may be time for organizations to offer additional learning opportunities.

 

To access the complete study, go to https://bit.ly/36YAq69