Membership Hack: Recognizing Retirees

By recognizing members who are retiring or already retired, one association is hoping to celebrate and engage them for a lifetime.

How to hack it? The retirement wave is here, and while many baby boomers are working past the traditional retirement age of 65, one association is preparing for the transition by recognizing and celebrating its members’ achievements.

That’s part of a new strategy that Melissa Zinder, manager of social media and online initiatives at the National Business Officers Association (NBOA), is working on right now. “We are brainstorming ideas about how we can recognize our retiree members at annual meetings because that’s typically one of the only times when our members meet face-to-face,” Zinder says.

Why does it work? The average age of a NBOA member is 55 years old, which means more retirees are coming soon. For next year’s meeting, she’s thinking through both high-tech and low-tech options to recognize and thank retirees. One idea is a digital bulletin board, posted in the conference lounge, which would display retirees’ photos and professional information. Another is to pass out Hawaiian leis to these members—something that’s a little more fun than the typical conference badge.

What’s the bonus? For a long time, there was no way for NBOA to know which members were retired. By asking and celebrating retirees at annual meetings, the association will now be able to track and engage those members—and possibly keep them as lifelong members. Right now, there are 30 retirees with an active membership, and Zinder says this new program should help to grow retention.

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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