Did You Know?

Demographics, Consolidation and Member Apathy Top List of Concerns

By Association Adviser staff • September 9, 2016

Baby Boomers are retiring at a record pace

Preliminary results of our unscientific reader poll show that association leaders have a wide variety of member challenges to address, and topping the list is the impact of a changing landscape. More than one in three (34 percent) respondents indicated concern about industry consolidation and retiring Boomers falling off their membership rolls.

Although only 13 percent felt that their member communications were ineffective, more than one in five (21 percent) were frustrated that members didn’t seem aware of all of the benefits they are entitled to with their membership. List segmentation was also cited as a significant challenge by more than one in six (17 percent) of associations.

Which of the following best describes your biggest membership challenges? (check up to 3)

Industry consolidation and retiring Boomers not being replaced fast enough ************************************* 34%
Members not aware of all the benefits they’re entitled to *********************21%
Segmenting our membership list **************** 17%
Competition from other associations and the Internet ************16%
Member communications not effective enough *********13%

Source: Association Adviser eNews and Naylor Association Solutions 2016 (Total may exceed 100% due to rounding)

New data from Edge Research, commissioned by Abila, Inc., showed a significant disconnect between the reasons young people join associations and the reasons associations THINK young people join.

At a recent webinar deconstructing the findings, Jamie Notter, founding partner at WorkXO, LLC, said many membership organizations are still stuck in the model of: “Pay to join us first and then we’ll show you our worth.” Notter said that’s a hard sell for always-connected young professionals who are “used to getting value instantaneously.”

“They’re used to the “freemium model,” Notter said, and then they upgrade to the paid model if they like it.

Scott Wiley, CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs, said it starts with “really knowing” your members.

“At OSCPA, we have a dedicated business development team whose primary responsibility is to build relationships with members and understand their challenges and any gaps in service that we can fill,” he said. “The team regularly brings that information back to our staff so that our strategic priorities and the work we do is directly aligned with solving members’ pain points.”