Recrutng the nxt gen in2 ur assn doesn’t have to look like this. The key to boosting membership is to know what your members want from your association. If you want your members to find real value in being part of your association, it is your responsibility to make sure it addresses their needs, not what you think are their needs. This holds equally true for younger members. If you want to boost Generation X and Y membership in your association, you must cater to the value those members are looking for.
- Career networking, not social networking. If networking is a major value you offer, yet you are not attracting young members (and maybe even losing some), perhaps it is time to rethink its aim. Gen Xers and Yers see membership networking in terms of career advancement rather than social opportunities. Yes, young people want to be “connected,” as evidenced by the popularity of social networking sites. However, there are so many free social networking groups these days that paying to be in an association largely for that purpose detracts from the association’s value for its members.
- Don’t use a hierarchy scheme. Today’s young professionals desire to have an accelerated career. Although their dreams of becoming a CEO by age 28 may or may not be realistic, they have the motivation and willingness to work for career advancement. They tend to gravitate toward jobs that offer this upward mobility. Additionally, young people want meaningful involvement in the groups to which they belong. They desire, at the very least, the possibility of being involved. For these reasons, associations with a hierarchical leadership based mainly on age tend to scare away Gen X and Yers. It precludes even the possibility of getting involved on a deeper level.
- Use technology. At the very least, have a website and a facebook page. That alone will not draw young members, but it will facilitate your marketing to them. The best associations can die because of shoddy marketing. Don’t become one of them. Also, integrate technology into your member benefits. Perhaps you could offer a webinar for those who cannot attend the annual conference. Maybe you could transition to online newsletters and registration, cutting overhead for you and providing instantaneous information for members.
In the end, your members are utterly unique. These tips will help you get started to address their needs and attract more young members.