I recently learned that a Baby Boomer turns 65 years of age every 7 seconds in the United States. Up until now, Baby Boomers have been the majority and been able to successfully provide associations with a continuous pipeline of members.
Unfortunately, with the shift in generational demographics, that is no longer the case.
I remember joining the alumni association of my sorority immediately after graduation because I thought it would be a great networking vehicle and provide a way for me to engage civilly with my community. Every meeting I went to I was referred to as a “younger sister.” It appeared to be a true hierarchy in the chapter and standard operating procedure was for “younger sisters” to simply do what they were told. I felt as if I had no true value as a member of the chapter and I shared that opinion with friends that asked me about joining other alumni chapters of my sorority.
When looking to involve, recruit and showcase value to young members of your association, reach them where they are. And if you don’t know where they are? Find out.
A hint: Generation Y has been charged with over-sharing given our affinity and usage of social media, blogs and websites. Associations have to market to Millennials (Gen Y) in the language that we speak. Social Media is a great vehicle because it enables young members to find and share information online (good and bad). When we are members of organizations that we believe in, find beneficial and believes add value to our lives–we share that organization with our friends and network via social media. Associations that are actively engaged in various social media platforms have success in reaching, attracting and retaining members.
Generation Y values flexibility. Associations should be willing to reexamine their bylaws as they seek to attract a retain younger members. The current state of the majority of association bylaws offer no flexibility. Associations have to adjust with the times and recognize we live in a virtual world where meetings and consensus can be made without everyone being in the same room.
In order for associations to effectively reach and retain younger members, keep your reputation, actions and communication methods in clear view. One bad experience with an association can spread amongst Gen Y like the flu. It’s important for associations to actively and consistently engage in social media platforms; to reach members where they are.
Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?