More on Membership for Volunteer Leaders

Resources for volunteer leaders to bone up on their membership knowledge.

Resources for volunteer leaders to bone up on their membership knowledge.

ASAE’s 2007 study The Decision to Join is, eight years later, still a go-to resource for association leaders to understand the fundamental reasons why people affiliate with groups and join associations (or not). A 54-page companion guide, Supporting the Decision to Join: What Association Boards Should Know and Do About Membership and Affiliation, outlines five key points for volunteer leaders, adapted below:

  1. Focus more on the collective benefits of membership, less on the personal benefits. Most professionals appreciate that association membership helps them advance the common good of their profession.
  2. Define, encourage, and measure member involvement. Performing one task, on one occasion, is all it takes to change a member’s disposition toward the value of membership.
  3. Don’t assume that elected leaders can correctly identify the priorities of rank-and-file members. Leaders have access to unique information that puts considerable distance between conclusions they reach and assumptions under which rank-and-file members operate.
  4. Stop worrying so much about the younger generation. They may be masters at social networking, texting, and blogging, but that doesn’t mean they don’t value many aspects of association membership.
  5. If the association plans to go global, first square up with domestic members. Launching a global strategy without fully analyzing motives or objectives can alienate domestic members.

For these resources and more, visit the ASAE Bookstore and search “membership.”


Joe Rominiecki

By Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki, manager of communications at the Entomological Society of America, is a former senior editor at Associations Now. MORE

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