Continuing to Build the Value of an Association Membership
Associations have been providing value to industry professionals for decades. Today, Millennials make up a huge percentage of the workforce. As a result, many associations are being updated to meet the needs of this growing demographic. By this point, you may have found ways to promote your association
Using social media, association newsfeeds, and email marketing, associations can attract new, young industry professionals to join. How can associations delight this new member base, and build successful long term member/association relationships?
Millennials are a generation that cares about community involvement. They are service-oriented, which means they like to spend their time helping others. At the same time, Millennials are used to a world in which they can access unlimited information at their fingertips. For this reason, this demographic expects fast information and short response times. As a result, Associations must both become more efficient and more community-based. Here are a few ways that associations can achieve this feat.
Building an E-Community for Millennials
While Millennials do have a preference for a close-knit community, it doesn’t mean the same thing today. In the past, building a community meant bringing people together in person for meetings and networking events. Today, a community can be a virtual experience. For example, many of today’s young professionals connect via social media. Job searches, professional industry chat groups, and one on one communication is all done online. Associations have a bad reputation of being stuck in the past, unwilling to evolve into the world of social media engagement and mobile compatibility.
The solution is simple. If associations can re-think their business model to become more technology focused, Millennials will be more delighted with membership. As an association executive would know, a delighted member is a long term member.
A few ways that associations can meet young members where they are is by:
- Building an association mobile app
- Creating member chat groups (Facebook group, slack, Gmail chat, etc)
- Hosting private facebook events: volunteering and networking
- Sending an E-Newsletter with all community information
- Showing Millennial members how to become Instagram ambassadors for the association
- Hosting online webinars for members to participate in together
By making it easier for young members to connect with other professionals across the country, associations build a greater and more connected membership. The internet is the perfect tool for associations to take advantage of, so why not use it? If time is a potential issue, there are plenty of streamlining services that can make this process much more efficient.
Retaining Millennial Memberships Through Volunteer Work
As mentioned earlier, Millennials are very service oriented. They have an interest in sharing crowdfunding campaigns on social media, donating to local causes, participating in charity events, and building experience assisting non-profits. They like to help create positive change for their community.
Associations by nature are a service-oriented community, which makes them perfectly suited for this new generation of young professionals. If associations can hone in on this aspect of membership, then retaining millennial memberships should be a piece of cake.
Some examples of this could be:
- Hosting or connecting members to nearby charity events
- Providing consistent volunteering opportunities
- Crowdfunding with members to donate to industry relevant nonprofits
- Share examples of the association’s community involvement in an e-newsletter
Giving these opportunities to young members will increase member engagement, help them build a strong resume, and fulfill that desire for community involvement. Plus, organizing these nonprofit fundraisers for members looks excellent when recruiting new members to join your association.
Use Technology to Become Faster and More Responsive
For a generation that relies on instant information, being fast and responsive is extremely important. Where older generations used the library for research, today’s generation has had the internet. In conversation, Millennials are quick to pull out the smartphone and google a question to get an immediate answer.
Alternatively, for customer service, the younger generation is quick to use a company’s chat service for a quick response. Unfortunately, associations have difficulty adjusting to this “quick information” era. Resources consist of lengthy white papers and response time take a few business days. As a result, retaining millennial memberships may be a more difficult task.
This is where associations must evolve and put in the leg work to prove a new responsive nature. There are a few ways that associations can become more responsive for members and focus on retaining millennial memberships.
- Adding a chatbot to your website so association employees can respond quickly to members
- Responding to messages and comments on social media
- Responding to comments on the association blog
- Answering any questions via email
- A phone line to call during business hours
In addition to being responsive, Millennials appreciate quick information that answers questions they may have in a short period of time. This doesn’t mean get rid of case studies and white papers! Plenty of members still appreciate an in-depth and industry-focused piece of writing.
It appears that to help with retaining millennial memberships, associations can create short videos, FAQ articles, listicles, and slideshow-style posts that get straight to the point. This type of writing is increasingly taking over the market, both for younger and older audiences.
Using streamlining services like AI, you can focus more on retaining Millennial memberships and creating healthy association/member relationships. Spend less time choosing posts for social media, deciding what news to add to your website, or what content to add to the e-newsletter with technology that makes the process efficient.