Association Membership Trends to Watch

March 30, 2017

recent member survey conducted by Member Zone, revealed some interesting statistics. Of the 1,070 associations surveyed, 58% reported membership levels remained flat or declined. Here are the top five reasons members gave for not renewing a membership:

  • Budget cuts
  • Lack of value — little or no return on investment
  • Lack of engagement/interest
  • Lack of time to participate
  • Cost

The most common renewal method was email, which 68% of Associations used. The top tactics for new member recruitment were word of mouth, events & meetings, email, trade shows & conferences, and social media. Perhaps individual phone calls to non-renewing members would have been better for retention efforts.

The top three enticing factors for new members were networking, education, and advocacy. For Associations, their main challenges revolved around recruiting and retaining members, attracting younger members, and effectively communicating their value proposition.

With the availability of information, prospective members may not believe they need an Association to serve as their industry information filter. Most successful organizations have excellent educational programs for their members that are industry-specific and not available elsewhere, they foster member-to-member relationships that are reinforced at meetings & events, and their legislative or advocacy programs are seen as effective.

Membership attraction and retention will remain important as businesses become more cost conscious of where they receive value.