The problem with your young association members is that they’re always changing. Each generation is a little bit different; they value experiences differently. How you attracted young members a decade ago probably isn’t working for you today; Gen X is not Gen Y is not Gen Z. And even if your association gets these generations in the door, keeping them there is just as challenging.
If your association is going to be around to worry about the next generation of membership, you need to know what the next generation of member values now.
The next generation wants to feel like a meaningful member of your association; they want real involvement. This is going to take more than email newsletters sent to them once a month. Generations X, Y and Z want to feel like they’re making a difference, that they are a member of your association for a reason.
Your association needs to ask itself, “What’s in it for them?” Are your new members building skills through volunteer opportunities? Are they being mentored by seasoned professionals in the group who have insights to share? Your association needs a way to get young members actively involved as soon as they join, maybe even before they join.
If you aren’t sure how your young members want to be involved, ask them. Gen Y loves getting and giving feedback; you might be surprised at what they’re looking for and how they can help your association grow.
When it comes to joining a professional association, Gen Y has a lot of choices. We all do. And let’s face it, your association needs young members. So when it comes to recruiting and retaining members, don’t let Gen Y feel forgotten; make them feel important. Think membership marketing.
The 2013 Pulse Report showed a serious lack of touchpoints when it comes to membership renewal. Make it a point to reach out regularly to your members to be sure they’re with you and getting what they need. If they aren’t, you’ll want to know about it well before it’s time for them to renew membership.
Don’t wait until membership is a problem to dig into providing real value for the next generation. It’s going to be easier to change your processes now than when you are struggling with member recruitment and retention. Start your process for understanding what your new members value and how you can offer them value for their membership now.
Now is the time to make the changes your association needs in order to ensure you can sustain your future and become a next generation association.
If you aren’t sure where to get started or how to put your plan into action, XYZ University’s Next Generation Association iPortal can help you find your niche and prove member value. This online curriculum helps you work through common association challenges at your own pace and gives you the nudge you need to make necessary changes now. Try it today!
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