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GAINESVILLE, Fla.– The latest communication research from Naylor reveals that a full 75 percent of senior-level association professionals believe members are not regularly reading their associations’ communications. The 2013 Association Communications Benchmarking Report taps into the pulse of association communication practices by revealing the biggest challenges as well as the progress made during the past two years by nearly 400 North American trade and professional associations. It is available for download on

“This report provides association leaders with objective data about the state of association communications and how their communication strategies stack up against organizations of similar size and membership composition,” said Alex DeBarr, Naylor’s president and CEO. “We hope this report will help association communicators identify gaps in their current offerings and recommend strategies, tactics and best practices for closing those gaps within the parameters of their staffing and resources,” he said.

The goal of this research was to investigate principal areas of member communication and best practices that associations have yet to thoroughly explore. These areas include strategy; communication channels; success measures and tools; and member communication preferences among others.

Industry news/trends and lobbying/advocacy efforts remain the two types of information associations believe are most important to members. Effectively communicating these types of information continues to remain a top challenge, according to nearly 85 percent of associations surveyed.

In a nod to the growing importance of social media and two-way dialogue with members, member feedback through email, social media and other informal channels ranks as the most common way associations say they determine their communication challenges and priorities.

As was the case in 2011, less than half (48 percent) of association respondents have more than one full-time communication staff member.

“It’s not easy being a trade or professional association these days,” said Hank Berkowitz, moderator-in-chief of Association Adviser and report coordinator. “Economic, demographic, technological and socio-political factors are making it tougher to recruit and retain members, to engage them meaningfully, and to find unique membership benefits that aren’t widely available on the Web or in the for-profit world.”

While the number of communicators declined slightly, remaining staff are handling a higher volume of communications than ever before. The average number of times associations say they reach members via print and online media rose to 9.5 times per month in 2012 from 8.3 times per month in 2011, while the number of times association communicators said they connect with members via social media rose to 7.5 times from 5.6 times per month.

“We hope association communicators will use this report as one instrument in their toolbox for the improvement of their messages,” said Charles Popper, Naylor’s vice president for association relations. “The report makes data-based recommendations, such as reviewing metrics that matter and customizing communications for key sub-groups, that associations should consider applying to their communication programs.”

Download the full report at

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About Naylor, LLC

Naylor, LLC is the leading provider of print and online media and event management solutions exclusively serving the association marketplace. Founded in 1969, Naylor provides customized association marketing communications, including magazines, member directories, online buyers’ guides, eNewsletters, digital magazines, show guides, mobile conference apps, event marketing/promotions and turnkey event management. Naylor currently provides specialized turnkey services that build image and drive non-dues revenue for associations in the United Statesand Canadaand currently serves more than 500 associations in 85 industries. Visit for more information.

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