We’ve all heard that we need to attract and retain millennial members, but have not been given examples of how.  Well, here is how…

As Association professionals, we know that sustaining and growing our organization means continuously re-evaluating member needs and benefits. The challenge for many of us is diversifying the way we do business and customizing member benefits to not only maintain members of older generations, but to also attract younger generations. It can be tricky, but through open-mindedness, innovation, and diversity, we can find balance.

Revisit/re-evaluate your association’s value proposition – In order to determine how to attract millennials, start by taking a look at the value your organization offers members from a millennial perspective and implement changes based on their needs and interests. Are you offering what they want? And what exactly do they want? You can get an idea by conducting your own online research, but if you really want your membership base to grow with this group, you’d be better off conducting an industry specific membership driven survey or interviews. Conducting your own survey will really help pinpoint where your association stands today, and where it needs to be in order to attract these potential future subscribers. Perhaps they’d like to see a la carte membership benefit packages, more mentoring opportunities, an increase in electronically delivered information, etc. The only way to find out is to ask, even while face-to face. Engage these individuals directly, and they’ll appreciate your concern and provide you with the feedback vital to your organization’s growth and success.  After all, they’re not only your key future members, but in the coming years they’ll likely be the masterminds running your organization!

Consider rethinking your business model – Millennials love being part of a community, but are sometimes discouraged by the costs associated with doing so. To engage with this generation, you might consider finding ways to offset costs while decreasing membership fees. Oh no, we didn’t say decrease membership fees!  WHAT?!  Creating various membership tiers in accordance with identified member needs with a millennial’s anticipated budget in mind is a great way to make sure everyone can afford to be a part of your organization.  When you are talking to young people that are still receiving help from their parents, $100 or $250 or $500 sounds like a lot of money.  You may also consider implementing options for quarterly or monthly dues payments, as opposed to the annual up-front dues structure.  This will make that dollar amount easier to swallow.

Provide opportunities to be part of something meaningful – We know that millennials are service oriented and want to make a positive impact on their community and the world. Many of the surveys we have done say that they are more willing to make a donation or contribute online and meet via social networks, than show up to a meeting where many of the members are older than them and most often they are the only person in the room that is a millennial.  Does your organization have a social online membership?  Online community and charitable events? How about starting an E-Club that affords millennials a way to be involved in meetings, without actually having to attend in-person meetings?

Outside of such online offerings, we also want to invite them to participate in traditional community and charitable events that the organization holds. In-person offerings will provide them with more of the relationship building, networking, and recognition opportunities they crave.  You may want to call on many millennials to attend the same meeting, so they are not the only millennial in the room.

Implement learning opportunities for career advancement – People are more likely to participate in events and courses that are relevant to their current position in the workplace. An organization can offer millennials the knowledge they seek though a combination of delivery methods such as online learning or in-person meetings, which affords them a variety of choices.  Millennials are looking for career advancement.  Let’s give them the tools to get there.

Encourage involvement and creativity – There are many ways to involve millennials in your association. You can recruit them to contribute to social media efforts (guest blogging for example), make them brand ambassadors, involve them in visioning and creative task forces, strategic planning and more. They enjoy participating in positive initiatives and being empowered to represent your industry, which not only satisfies their interests, but will likely attract more millennials based on peer observation.

Up your game when it comes to technology, social media, etc. – Millennials are extremely tech savvy and if you’re not staying up on the latest/greatest trends and practices, they won’t come or stay long. If you don’t already utilize and engage members through the many social media outlets available, you’re likely missing out on some important millennial engagement opportunities. Millennials want fast, relevant, and easily accessible information and communications.

There are so many ways to draw millennials to your organization, and the things outlined above just scratch the surface. In a nutshell, millennials want personal and professional development, advanced technologies, and a trusted place where they can in some way contribute to their association with other millennials. Relative and relatable benefit offerings will entice them to become involved, and a continuous effort on your part to stay on top of how those benefits evolve will ensure they stay while automatically encouraging others to do the same.

If you’d like help maximizing your organization’s millennial membership growth potential, give us a call. We know how to develop and enhance membership models that result in building a better tomorrow for both your association and your members. We are The Solution.