Finding New Millennial Members Through Community Involvement

Every day, millions of young professionals take part in philanthropic efforts like donating and volunteering. Millennials are often referred to as being service oriented and giving. They also use volunteering and fundraiser events for professional networking. In general, millennials donate their time and money to help a good cause, meet other professionals, and add the experience to their resume. For this reason, community involvement is an excellent way for associations to connect with these young, prospective members.

By creating crowdfunding campaigns, hosting fundraiser events, building association volunteer teams, and being involved with the community, associations can recruit more young members.

Join Local Community Efforts

community involvement

According to an article written by Forbes, about 23.5% of adults volunteer with a nonprofit. These volunteers give 8.7 billion hours of their time annually. As an association, a great place to start getting involved is local. This way, associations can find more of the local professionals in their industry that may have an interest in membership. By showing potential members that your association cares about the community, you show that you care about members as well.

Local fundraising events tend to involve local business owners and figureheads of the community. These events are the perfect place to set up a booth and get to know everyone. Build awareness for your association and give yourself a chance to share the benefits of association membership.

Associations can involve themselves in the community by:

  • Creating an association team for charity walks/marathons
  • Signing up for a booth at career fairs, community development workshops
  • Volunteering time for community action projects
  • Donating to a nonprofit auction event
donating to nonprofits

Find opportunities in community involvement to meet potential local members. These members are often more engaged than the average member because they are close enough to participate in events in person.

As Millennials are towards the beginning of their career, they are preoccupied with two goals:
  1. To do good in the world
  2. To grow professionally

Give them the opportunity to meet these goals, and your association provides immediate value to prospective members. By understanding the mindset and goals of millennials, you can share the benefits of membership that meet these goals and gain new membership. Where else can associations meet millennial where they are?

Volunteer Association Time to Colleges

volunteering members

Another way to get involved in philanthropy is by donating time and resources to higher education. The majority of college students are typically in their early 20s and looking for opportunities to meet professionals in the field they are interested in. This is where associations can inspire students to become a member and open the door to countless professional opportunities.

Associations can volunteer time to colleges through workshops, guest speaking, and career fairs. This shows potential millennial members that your association cares about helping people, namely them. Your association can provide countless opportunities for a generation that is struggling to make the most of their degree. By becoming a member, they guarantee themselves valuable resources and networking opportunities. These benefits increase the chances of finding a great job in their field following graduation.

Association Membership and E-Philanthropy

association giving

Associations are not just locals. They involve membership from industry professionals living all over the country. It has never been easier for associations to reach prospective members through the power of the internet. New, prospective members communicate through emails, social media, website chats, online forms, and more. It really is impressive the number of ways that associations can use the internet to increase membership. One of the ways is through e-philanthropy!

By using all of the tools available to you, your association can make it easier for new members to find you. Share photos and videos from current volunteer projects, run crowdfunding campaigns on your website and send emails to subscribers that include information about upcoming fundraiser events. There are a ton of ways that you can share your history of philanthropy, raise money for nonprofit organizations, and connect with young prospective members who may have an interest in volunteering or donating.

Email Campaigns

email campaigns

This is more applicable once a person is aware of an association and has subscribed to the email list. Email is further down the funnel between awareness and membership than social media or a blog. This is where you can highlight professional connections, resources, and events only available to members.

Share past community involvement and what members only volunteer opportunities are available to them if they join now. Leave a sense of urgency and a reason to become a member this week, instead of months from now. Use AI technology to streamline this process and craft personalized emails in less time.

Blog Posts

association blog

Part of the value of membership is exclusive content. That being said, you can still create a public blog with examples of past efforts, fundraisers, and networking events! This shows enough that it doesn’t take away from exclusive content and gives the prospective member an idea of membership.

Add a call to action at the bottom of each blog post to join your association! Allow prospective members to join an e-newsletter or follow on social media. Create content that shares the benefits of volunteering or donating as a member of an association.

Social Media

social media fundraising

For e-philanthropy, an association can do a lot through social media. For example, associations can create private events for members to fundraisers and community involvement. They can share blog content that highlights the association’s giving efforts. Associations can also create private volunteer groups for members. Crowdfunding efforts can also be shared on social media or even run through Facebook!

There are plenty of ways to use social media to build awareness and increase membership through nonprofit work. Using streamlining technology, your association can automatically schedule posts for social media so you can focus on creating groups, events, and being responsive to followers.

Community Involvement for The Greater Good

community involvement

In short, it feels great to give. It is gratifying to spend time and money on a cause that helps others. Giving and volunteering is a fantastic way for an association to bring its members together for the greater good. At the end of the day, you may attract more “do-gooders” to become a member of your association. Associations and community involvement go together like peanut butter and jelly.

So, what will your association do to give back this year?

How to Share the Benefits of Association Membership with Millennials

share the benefits of association membership with millennials

Adapting to the Generational Shift

Associations have existed in one form or another for hundreds of years. Generation after generation, associations have enjoyed a steady flow of memberships. In the past, there was no internet resource for professional development. At the time, associations were the main source for industry insights. Today’s generation has an unlimited source of information at their fingertips with access to industry articles, events, and networking opportunities. As a result, association membership has decreased over the years.

The key to increasing Millennial memberships is to find out what associations can provide them that they can’t do themselves. Previously, we’ve discussed who Millennials are, how to reach them, and how to build a community for young professionals. As a result, here are our six hacks to engage Millennials and increase association membership.

Build a Strong Social Media Presence

associations social media

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Most young professionals communicate via social media. A few of the ways Millennials use social media to create a professional community include:

  • Following industry-specific twitter accounts
  • Joining Facebook groups of young professionals in the area
  • Following Instagram accounts of other inspiring young professionals
  • Creating professional connections on LinkedIn

In addition to following people and joining groups, Millennials use social media to access information about upcoming networking events and industry updates. To these young professionals, social media is the most honest way to get information. It doesn’t make them feel as if they’re being pushed into a corner. Associations can use social media to increase awareness about associations and show them the benefits of association membership.

A few ways associations can improve their social media presence is by:

  • Posting consistent, relevant content
  • Investing in social ad campaigns that target a young demographic
  • Using social media influencers to build your social brand
  • Creating social media groups for young members

Find all of this overwhelming? Using an AI content curator, you can focus more on in-depth social campaigns and less on finding relevant content to post for the day. For instance, artificial intelligence collects social media content that is relevant to your target audience and streamlines the process of social media presence. Reach more young professionals with less time spent finding things to post!

Share Educational Content On Your Website

association blog content

In the past, websites were often used with the expectation of being sold something. Today, Millennials are looking for websites that provide more useful information and fewer ads. This is perfect for an association! The purpose of an association is to build a community of industry professionals, to share industry insights, and provide networking opportunities.

Likewise, this is exactly what Millennials are looking for (if they only knew it was available to them). Today, a lot of association content is only available to association members. Why not provide a few examples of what they’ll be paying for?

Here are a few ways to sample content:

  • Allow non-members to view blog content that is older than 6 months
  • Provide a streamlined newsfeed of third-party content
  • Give a short list of links to social media accounts of seasoned members

In other words, millennials are much less likely to pay for association membership if they can’t research what they’re getting beforehand. That is to say, this demographic responds well when given the opportunity to do their own research and weigh the pros and cons of joining a new professional community.

Are you interested in adding a newsfeed to your website, but not sure how much association time it will take up? We’re trying not to toot our own horn here “toot, toot”, but using an AI content curator is the quickest way to get it done. By using this automated technology, setting up a streamlined process for your association’s newsfeed is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Send Valuable Monthly E-Newsletters

e-newsletter for millennials

However, contrary to popular belief, Millennials are still using email. This group uses email for everything from work to informational newsletters. They do so to establish professional contacts, for job opportunities, renting a home, utility bill accounts, online shopping, you name it! Most of this generation has the e-mail app on their phone, and check it daily.

The key to sending emails to Millennials is this: don’t make them click the unsubscribe button.

That is to say, send engaging emails to help increase association membership. For example, here are some quick tips for sending monthly newsletters that prospective young members will enjoy:

  • Send easy to scan information that provides value
  • Make emails membership oriented, compelling them to join without making them feel like they’re getting an advertisement
  • Apply curated content that intrigues and is visually appealing
  • Do not send more than once a month!

Collaborate with Local Colleges

associations in higher education

Lastly, these young professionals do exist beyond the internet ethos! Find them at the point where they need your help the most. By partnering with local colleges, your association can provide value at the most stressful part of a young professional’s career. It’s the beginning. Millennials have few professional contacts, a very small resume, and a hunger to be successful. By reaching out a supporting hand during this time, associations increase their chances of making lifetime members out of this new generation.

Most importantly, make these opportunities known. Make opportunities available to college career development offices. Give information out to advisors in departments relevant to your association’s industry. Meanwhile, create career building opportunities for students and alumni who may still be searching for a community. After that, join career development fairs and enjoy some networking of your own! Bring seasoned members to meet and greets with students and create opportunities for students and members to network.

show millennials why joining an association will be beneficial

As an Executive Director, you know the benefits of joining an association. Using these hacks, you can share these benefits with young professionals and guide them towards greater career development. To sum it all up, build your social media presence, share information with prospective members, send out new and exciting industry developments, and get involved in the Millennial communities.

Marketing for Millennial Association Membership: Form the Perfect Campaign through Social Media

association giving

form the perfect campaign through social media when marketing association membership

Member Engagement Strategies for Connecting, Recruiting, and Marketing Association Membership

Before we get into marketing association membership for millennials, it’s important to know who millennials are. Millennials are the people who were born between the years 1977 and 2000. They make up 25% of the U.S. population, and now they’re old enough to become the driving force behind many markets. They’re tech-savvy adults who want to feel a peace of mind about where their hard-earned money is going.

Millennials receive a lot of bad press. They’re called entitled, lazy, and selfish. But oftentimes, so-called “millennials” are mislabeled and miscategorized.

While millennials often receive a bad rap, in reality, millennials are discerning, adaptive, and strive to become successful adults. They are changing, and yet, at their core, want the same things any other generation wants. So how can you market association membership to this fluid demographic while still staying true to the needs and values your association already has?

create the best strategy for marketing association membership to millennials

The key to coming up with a marketing association membership strategy geared towards millennials is to understand who they are and what they want from an association. And most importantly, it is to understand what your association can offer millennials that they can’t get somewhere else.

Think about how to reach this demographic on their own terms. More than any previous generation, millennials are highly in tune with the world of social media.

So here’s the million-dollar question: how can associations utilize social media to recruit this next generation of potential members to join your association?

Understanding Millennials Will Help Market Association Membership

marketing association membership to millennials means staying aware of their need to save money

Millennials Want to Save Money

Millennials make up a huge portion of the working population, yet studies show that they are making 20% less money than their parents did at the same age. Consequently, they also own less property and are much more likely to be renting apartments or homes.

One way to make a millennial an engaged member of your association is to speak to them on terms that are important to them. How can your association help them save or invest money? How can you help them plan for their long term future?

The greatest benefit of using social media as a way to garner the attention of younger members is that it is essentially “free”. While millennials are already paying for internet service and data plans for their mobile devices, it doesn’t necessarily cost them more to see and use Facebook, or YouTube, or access their email.

Marketing association membership using social media as an engagement point for interaction can be key because you’re meeting millennials where they already are.

millennials want to get recommendations when marketing association membership

Millennials Want Recommendations

Very closely associated with the idea of saving money, millennials want to know where their money is being spent. That’s why unboxing videos are so incredibly popular. Millennials are reading reviews, and getting recommendations from friends and family. They’re making less money, so they want to be sure that when they spend it, they’re getting what they want.

When using social media to reach your target audience, instead of using a call to action like “buy now” to link to your blog post or website, invite them to “learn more”. Millennials want to trust that their money is going to something they believe in, and something they actually desire, so make sure to speak to that need when marketing association membership.

when marketing association membership to millennials, consider their desire for incentives

Millennials Like Incentives

Another way to bolster your engagement with would-be millennial members is to incentivize them to recruit more assciation members for you. Give them a chance to win a prize, or just give them a prize, for referrals to new members. Everyone wants to be part of a community, no matter what age.

Motivate them to help create this community and simultaneously give prospective members something to believe in, like the judgment of their peers. A huge amount of millennials (84%!) say that user-generated content, rather than advertising, influences how they spend their money. Use this knowledge to your advantage when marketing association membership!

millennials want to be engaged with, not advertised to when creating a strategy for marketing association membership

Millennials Want to be Engaged With, Not Advertised To

Millennials are a very savvy group. They have a great sense of when they are being marketed to, and they’re not fans of it. They are 247% more likely to be persuaded by blogs or social-networking sites than baby boomers are. This is because they view these online communities as trustworthy. And, in a sense, they are right to believe this. In this day and age, social media is the democratic voice of the people; it’s 2019, which is reason enough for associations to strengthen their social media presence.

What they don’t respond to is traditional advertising in newspapers, commercials, etc. Millennials would much rather recommend their friends to read an informative blog post than show them a newspaper advertisement.

This goes back to their desire to save money. Millennials don’t want to feel like they are being sold something, rather they want to feel like they are becoming part of something. If emails are still a large part of your marketing association membership strategy, tailor it to the millennial mindset.

“Click-bait” subject lines are likely going to get your emails forwarded straight to the spam folder. Send an email that invites both your prospects and your new members to partake. Invite them to share, and become part of the front-running team. Use an email campaign that doesn’t make your members feel like customers, but makes them feel like they’re part of a community that cares about them and their individual beliefs.

An Engagement Plan for the Next Generation

form the perfect plan for marketing association membership through a strong social media presence targeting millennials

Membership Organization for Millennials

We can’t expect to continue with the same marketing association membership strategies forever if we wish to grow our membership base with the coming generations. Millennials want to make money, they want to be engaged, and they want to invest in the things that matter to them. This might sound like every generation, but the ways in which they try to achieve these goals are substantially different than Gen Xer’s or Baby Boomers.

Social media is where the younger generation lives, so use this new medium to speak to your new audience. Millennials are diverse, and fluid. It can be hard to market your association to target them because they are truly such a diverse crowd. But the first trick to catching a fish is knowing where to find it, so get your waders on and hop into the river.

Associations Struggling with Member Engagement

for associations struggling with member engagement it's important to create practical strategies

Defining Practical Strategies for Increasing Member Engagement and Retention

When we speak with association leaders and subject matter experts about the most important challenges and the pain points they face, they will most often put member engagement at or near the top of the list.

Associations know how important engagement is in keeping organizations healthy and advancing their mission, yet many are struggling to use their digital channels effectively.

A recent association benchmarking survey quantified the challenge of engagement. This study showed that 55% of associations felt that engaging members is  a challenge.

Traditionally, member engagement meant participation in annual conferences, training programs, or purchasing publications. With the advent of email, social media, and scores of apps, digital outreach became a quick, easy, and less expensive way of connecting with members. These digital options also brought forth a substantial number of new competitors vying for members’ attention.

Oren Ahronson, CEO of InLoop points out that,

“With the huge volume of data and spam that we receive every day, a simple approach of posting content to a website, email, and on social media no longer achieves the goal of engaging members. This is especially true in trying to get members to engage with digital content. These responses elevate engagement levels which are crucial to increasing association member recruitment and retention.”

associations have to make practical plans in order to increase member engagement

The rules of the game have changed. Associations need a more strategic approach with specific objectives and metrics. We provide practical tips for increasing member engagement.

Defining Engagement

In a world where electronic communications transfer information in nanoseconds, bombarding your members with “information overload” engagement is not just the existence of a relationship between an association and its members. You also need members acting on those communications and renewing their memberships.

Engagement = Member Recruitment + Action + Retention

Since each association has different goals, the exact definition of engagement will vary across associations. But the primary objective remains the same… increase engagement by increasing member participation, acquisition, and retention.

However, Wendy Scott, a Partner at ReedScott warns that,

Associations often focus primarily on recruitment while tolerating a decrease in retention until it’s too late. Delivering valuable, customized content is one of the best ways to retain members and remind them of the value you provide to meet their current and, hopefully, unmet needs over time. Retention is crucial because it can cost up to six times more to recruit a new member than the cost to retain an existing one.

Indications of Member Engagement Issues

member engagement and retention goes hand in hand

How do you know if you have an engagement issue with your membership? According to ReedScott, there are several reliable indicators:

Warning Signs that You May Have a Retention Problem

  • your association has a retention rate that is less than 75%
  • attendance at conferences and meetings is decreasing
  • the number of members volunteering is decreasing
  • you are seeing a decrease in benefits utilization
  • your sales from multiple revenue streams are decreasing

Time and time again, we see that the members who are highly engaged are the ones always coming back. So how do we measure engagement? And why is it important to measure it?

Measuring Engagement

by measuring engagement, associations can focus more on member retention and member engagement

It is important to measure engagement for the simple reason that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Without data, you have no information upon which to make sound decisions about which direction to head with your content and communication strategies.

But, how can your association figure out how to measure engagement?

At a high level, measuring engagement is about aligning metrics to your strategic objectives. At a more detailed level, these metrics will be specific to each marketing channel. AI is playing a larger role in how we measure engagement by providing personalized content to association members.

Strategies in keeping members engaged rely solely on the content we send to members; content must be useful and unique to the personal needs of all members. We only have a short window to catch the attention of our members, so we have to be sure we take full advantage of all the resources available to us in this increasingly technologically-run world.