For young professionals, association membership matters. Today’s workforce has seen an influx of millennials and Generation Z. These individuals are innovative and technologically savvy, and they have high expectations for their association memberships.
Competition for members is fierce and meeting the demands of this young demographic is critical to survival. This target audience is more member-centric than ever, and to stay credible and relevant, associations must learn to provide a list of benefits young professionals really want.
Here are five key benefits associations should promote to give members the tools to become leaders in their industry:
One of the primary motivations driving young professionals to seek out association membership is job opportunities. Associations must be able to offer members leadership roles and committee volunteer opportunities that expand their resume and networking opportunities that help them make meaningful connections.
Associations should seek to develop programs that teach the leadership skills young professional members need to excel in their field. From the smallest engagement (answering questions in an online forum) to major participation (speaking at an event), professionals should be able to take advantage of numerous professional development opportunities.
Promoting members-only access to directories, thought leaders and influencers, invite-only events and exclusive job openings is also crucial.
Training and Education
Young professionals are always looking for new ways to grow their skill set. Education paves the road to success in any industry, and associations should plan to regularly host workshops, online training and peer-to-peer learning opportunities designed to help members develop professionally.
Whether required or optional, associationprovided certifications and designations also offer ongoing opportunities for professional development and a diversified skill set.
Access to Exclusive Information
Be sure to promote the ability to quickly access exclusive content such as legislative policy updates, original research, innovative trends, industry predictions, articles from thought leaders, proprietary content, seminars, newsletters, best practices, etc.
Benefits and Discounts
Millennials are known for their love of loyalty and rewards programs. Therefore, associations should make sure to promote their members-only benefits and discounts. These may include savings on products and services, group health care, travel discounts and access to mentoring programs, young professional groups, exclusive conferences, trade shows and events.
Camaraderie and Collaboration
Associations are a place for sharing challenges and discussing common issues in a collaborative environment. Showing off the way your association members interact and exchange ideas while building trust is sure to catch the attention of young professionals looking to get involved. Consider turning to social media to showcase the collaborative nature of your next meeting.
Making all of these changes may seem overwhelming, but in reality most associations already do everything on this list—they just have to promote it. By effectively communicating key benefits of membership, associations can recruit and retain young professionals.
Amy Gitchell is a marketing and research specialist at GrowthZone AMS with a focus on association industry research and growth. She is passionate about marketing communications and has extensive experience in digital media strategy.