Tuesday Buzz: How Social Group Membership Helps Retirees

A new study published in the British Medical Journal highlights how staying active in social groups or professional societies after retirement can improve health and longevity. Also: why those member welcome packets really do have an effect.

For retirees, belonging to a local organization isn’t just a nice way to pass the time; rather, it could boost longevity.

New research published this week in the British Medical Journal highlights the health benefits of joining a social group—be it a book club, a church group, or an association—later in life. The study, conducted by the University of Queensland, compared the health of 424 people over a six-year period after retirement and found that for every group membership participants dropped in the year after they stopped working, they experienced a 10 percent decrease in quality of life six years later.

“Speaking further to the importance of social group memberships as a predictor of both quality of life and mortality, it is notable that the present effects were comparable in size to those associated with physical activity—a behavior widely recognized as enhancing objective health in retirees and older adults more generally,” the study states [PDF].

One public health group in the U.K., the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, pointed out that this guidance matches its own recommendations for seniors.

“While the study’s findings are observational and conclusions cannot be drawn about cause and effect, they do highlight the association between membership of social groups and health and well-being,” Professor Gillian Leng, the institute’s deputy chief executive and director of health and social care, said in a statement.

Offer a Warm Welcome

Bringing new members into the fold is important, but it’s equally important that associations follow through on keeping newcomers engaged. To that end, it would be wise to heed the advice from MemberClicks’ Callie Walker on the usefulness of the welcome packet.

“New member welcome packets go a long way. Not only do they help your new members get up to speed, but they make your new members feel wanted and relaxed,” she explains. “Sure, new member welcome packets might seem insignificant to you, but your new members will see them as a gift. Not only are you thanking your new members for their time and money, but you’re handing them the tools needed to be successful right out the gate.”

Check out Walker’s post to get the full scoop on what’s needed to make an effective member welcome packet.

Other Links of Note

Sick of the presidential campaign already? Bad news—there’s more of it coming. Might as well take advantage of the lessons it has to offer. SCD Group’s Steve Drake has a useful blog post on how associations can use the marketing strategies of the White House hopefuls to recruit and retain members.

Did you know that YouTube now offers donation cards for nonprofits? The nonprofit marketing firm Bloomerang explains how you can turn this tool into a major advantage.

Boost your social advocacy: The Higher Logic Users Group reveals some smart strategies on how associations can embrace social media in their advocacy efforts.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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