New Report Offers Tips on Increasing Membership and Engagement

Roughly 40 percent of mid- to large-size associations reported declining or stagnant membership, according to a new engagement and performance survey. While that may be bad news or good news, depending on how you look it, the authors suggested ways associations can work to increase membership numbers.

Almost 60 percent of associations saw their membership grow in 2013, according to the newly released “2014 Member Engagement and Performance Survey” from Advanced Solutions International (ASI).

The correlation between engagement and member growth is unmistakable—and the solution is inexorably linked.

But that means about 40 percent saw stagnant or declining membership last year, and depending on how you look at it, that can be good news or bad news for the association industry.

Early last month, Marketing General, Inc., released similar research findings from its 2014 “Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.” MGI found that 53 percent of the almost 900 associations it surveyed reported an increase in membership last year.

MGI Vice President Eric Schonher declared it a win for the industry: “It’s good news. The industry continues to grow.”

ASI took a more glass-half-empty view of its survey findings and called the percentage of associations seeing stagnant and declining membership “troubling.” The group drew a link between that finding and the 40 percent of associations that reported that member engagement levels were either down or unchanged in 2013.

“The correlation between engagement and member growth is unmistakable—and the solution is inexorably linked,” the report noted.

Lack of engagement was also reported as the number-one reason why people chose not to renew memberships among the respondents of the MGI study.

The ASI survey highlighted a few potential sources of disconnect with members, including outdated member management systems. It also offered several tips to help increase member engagement and ultimately lead to better membership growth and retention:

  • When determining which membership management system to choose for your association, consider test-driving different platforms to determine the best fit.
  • Create a personalized web experience for your members.
  • If you haven’t redesigned your website within the last three to five years, consider an update. “Three to five years is an eternity—especially when you’re trying to keep younger members interested, engaged, and plugged in,” the report noted.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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