Association Connect

8 Essential Tactics for Attracting Younger Association Members

By Craig Lauer | July 28, 2020

1. Meet Them Where They Are With the Tools They Need

  • Deliver expanded online options (not just because of COVID-19 but because younger people expect it)
  • Create mobile-optimized content offerings so young members can engage on their smartphone
  • Develop online as well as print publications
  • Engage in relevant social media activity
  • Provide online communities and networking tools and apps 

2. Ask Their Opinion

  • Understand what younger members truly want from an association membership
  • Generate surveys, both among current members and prospective members
  • Create focus groups of younger potential members
  • Audit what other associations are doing
  • Give younger members real opportunities to get involved, making them feel valued while you gain insightful new perspectives
  • Talk to experts who work with a wide range of associations

3. Develop a Member Lifecyle

  • Brainstorm your different member types and place them in categories (four can be an ideal number, being sure to include one category for younger members)
  • Determine what members are looking for at different stages of their career and offer those benefits
  • Consider tiering your pricing so younger members can afford it (and grow with you over time)

4. Actively Invite Them In

  • Show young people how membership will benefit them with a targeted marketing campaign
  • Create a referral program
  • Let younger members know they are needed 
  • Offer young people a free opportunity to attend a virtual conference or other event, or offer a free trial period
  • Connect with colleges and institutions that have relevant programs

5. Have Current Members Share Their Stories

  • Create powerful testimonials from members for marketing pieces
  • Post videos to social media of members speaking about how membership benefited them early in their career
  • Have members explain how membership in your association differs from competing associations

6. Offer Mentorship Programs

  • Enable seasoned pros to offer guidance to emerging professionals
  • Create an online community with relevant areas to connect people
  • Create an under-40 community to allow younger members to network
  • Monitor and assess the mentoring program to evaluate its effectiveness
  • Share mentoring case studies and success stories

7. Create Relevant Events and Content

  • Help young members advance and grow
  • Deliver career development workshops and seminars, particularly online
  • Offer other career resources including, but that go beyond, a job board

8. Once You Get Them, Keep Them

  • Develop a great onboarding experience for new, young members
  • Offer a meaningful welcome package, including custom branded apparel that young people would want to wear
  • Create a membership card to establish a tangible sense of belonging to a community
  • Provide an automated renewal process to make remaining a member easier
  • Use modern membership management software to understand how your members are engaging and evolve your tactics based on your findings

Brian Hershey is a YGS senior account manager. Connect with YGS to discuss how we can help you create a bigger pipeline of members.

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