Many associations are aging and that trend will negatively impact quite a few organizations in the future. A recent post from XYZ University said, “Baby Boomers are retiring, and as they do, you can expect the number of cancellations due to retirement to increase. This means, engaging the next generation to fill the membership ranks gets more important every year.” But the practice of attracting the next generation becomes difficult when there are no or few younger people in the membership. No matter the demographics of your association’s membership, board or staff, there are ways to overcome this barrier and reinvigorate your association.
Call prospective members personally and invite them to an event, receive a trial offer, or if they have special expertise to contribute to content or training. Association staff can do this (or even better, assemble a group of enthusiastic members to reach out to their younger contacts).
Don’t just tell them about the association’s value. Show them. Are they coming to an event? Pair them with a connected member that can introduce them to other members. Did they take you up on the trial offer? Make sure they get the opportunity to enjoy a favorite member benefit like taking part in a specialized training, accessing member-only research or the chance to browse a professional guide.
Once younger members start joining keep learning from them and enable them to learn from you. Initiate a consistent dialogue to learn how the association can help these members. As they encounter new professional challenges, direct them to resources and other members who have successfully grappled with the same problem.
Generations X, Y and Z will be the ones to sustain your association in future. Engage with them now to ensure you are still here when your Boomer members retire and are no longer the backbone of your organization. Helping young members meet each other, connect with experienced members, excel in their early careers and contribute to the association now will prove beneficial in the future. Soon, you will have a thriving new member segment and will have embraced the change that will move your association into the future!
Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?