How Associations Must Adapt to the Generational Shift




There are a few things keeping association leaders up at night and one is declining membership numbers with the retirement of Baby Boomers. This is a reality for most organizations. And, data show in the next decade there will be more Millennials in the workforce than any other generation. So, the question is, “How will our organizations adapt to meet the expectations of this demographic?“
I believe we must become more effective in two areas.
First – communication. We must adopt and master social media platforms as our primary means of communication rather than some of the traditional methods.  Much has been written about Millennials over the years – from their work culture expectations to their technological savvy, and it’s well-documented their needs are a bit more modernized. Millennials rely on social to get their information – so social is where you need to be on messaging and in articulating your membership value proposition.
We participated with a group on a membership survey that showed the Millennial demographic was less satisfied with the value prop overall.  Most Baby Boomers were willing to join an association to support and be part of the industry, and we all know this narrative won’t cut it with the younger generation.
To start, we’ll want to discuss with long-time members their authentic, true stories about how they’ve benefited from membership. How have their businesses have grown through their affiliation with the organization. How the advocacy activity has helped their company when facing tough regulations. Get the real stories – that’s the good stuff. Then, effectively craft your communication to showcase the value prop to a new generation of members and prospects.
The Millennial generation requires immediate focus – but, rest assured you have an action plan to better recruit these young folks.
I hope this content has been helpful. For a new and comprehensive resource on association growth, my first book, Association Hustle is now available for purchase. Check it out! 


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