Membership

Daily Buzz: Consider Freelancers as a Member Segment

By / Jul 12, 2019 (Geber86/E+/Getty Images Plus)

The number of freelancers is growing. Tapping independent workers as a member segment increases your association’s value. Also: Does diversity training work?

About 35 percent of U.S. workers did some sort of freelance work in the past year, according to a survey from the Freelancers Union and UpWork. Are your members among them?

“Because the growth of freelancing is a recent career trend, many associations aren’t tracking it as a membership segment,” says the MemberSuite team on its blog. But they should be. So, look into how freelancing is affecting your association’s industry. Is it a growing trend?

If so, consider tweaking your membership model, or developing a separate membership tier directed at freelancers.

For example, because freelancers don’t have the backing of an employer, they often miss out on professional development and employer support for membership. Associations that market their learning courses and provide more affordable membership rates are likely to better entice and support freelancer members.

Independent workers are also more likely to work from home, so get them connected with your member community.

“During new member onboarding, introduce freelance members to the many marketing opportunities offered by your association,” the team says. “Freelancers can make a reputation for themselves by writing articles and blog posts, speaking at conferences and other educational events, or making a guest appearance on your podcast.”

Diversity Training Works—But Not for the Reasons You Think

Let’s confront the elephant in the room: Does diversity training work? According to one recent study, no—but it did prompt other changes.

“We found very little evidence that diversity training affected the behavior of men or white employees overall—the two groups who typically hold the most power in organizations and are often the primary targets of these interventions,” say the nine authors from the University of Pennsylvania—including well-known organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who spoke at the 2014 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition—on Harvard Business Review.

The study did find, however, that it encouraged women in junior roles to seek mentorship from more senior colleagues, regardless of gender. It also revealed that diversity training improved attitudes toward racial minorities.

“Even though there was no mention of race or racial bias in this training, U.S. employees who took it were more willing than their counterparts in the control group to acknowledge their own racial biases, provide informal mentorship to racial minorities, and recognize the excellent work of their peers who were racial minorities,” the group says.

Other Links of Note

Siri, how do you optimize content for voice search? Convince & Convert explains.

Employee recognition should be a year-round practice, says CMSWire.

Make your conference mom-friendly by providing designated breastfeeding areas onsite, says Meetings Today.

Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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