Why attracting younger members is crucial for association success

Soon Gen Z and Millennials will dominate most of the job force, impacting the future of work as we know it. To stay relevant as an association, you must purposefully seek to attract younger members by better understanding their motivations. According to a Community Brands Association Trends Study, 58% of early careerist members identified training opportunities as their biggest priority. Early careerists also responded that raising awareness was their second most important priority.  

Recruiting younger members by providing desirable benefits is vital for organizational success and longevity. When young professionals join your organization and meet their professional or personal goals, it maximizes member engagement, accelerating your own association goals. Here are five member benefits early careerists will seek at any association:   

1. Education programs
With the ever-rising cost of higher education, your association must embrace the new trend of outcomes-based education, such as training and certifications necessary for young graduates’ personal and professional goals. Be prepared to offer industry-specific certifications at your organization so early careerists can market themselves to potential employers. Consider partnering with specific universities, so you know exactly what training and certifications are relevant to students and recent graduates. Doing so can also build a pipeline of young professionals who will want to join your association.  

TECH TIP: Teach in-demand skills and provide industry-specific certifications through Salesforce’s Trailhead, accessible with Nimble AMS.

2. Volunteering
Young professionals see the value of volunteering, raising awareness, and charitable acts, whether it’s for a political, personal, or professional issue. According to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, 35% of millennials and 40% of Gen Z respondents volunteered at a non-profit, charity, or community organization, while 55% of millennials and 52% of Gen Z respondents donated to charities.  

Building a vibrant volunteer program at your association is a great method to attract young members. Do so by providing various volunteer opportunities at your organization and within your community, ensuring early careerists have many options where they can serve. To better understand your members and their volunteer motivations, send out a survey. With the results, you can match members in the best volunteer experience, placing young professionals in the right volunteering position will accelerate association member engagement.  

TECH TIP: With predictive analytics and AI Nimble AMS can help you further understand young professionals’ volunteer motivations and behaviors, leveraging your member engagement strategy.

3. Networking opportunities
The Community Brands Association Trends Study found that 53% of early careerists sought opportunities to fuel growth in their industry. Ensure you provide plenty of in-person and virtual networking events at your association and market the opportunities to young professionals and new members. Consider providing an industry theme at different events to guide the conversation or invite a guest speaker to get the discussion flowing.  

If you don’t already have an online community for your association, establish one to provide additional networking opportunities for early careerists. Create a subgroup for young professionals to meet each other and another group for early careerists to network with veteran members. An online community allows the conversation to continue after a networking event ends and is a fantastic way to increase member engagement.  

TECH TIP: To foster more networking opportunities at your association, use Nimble Communities, and allow members to connect virtually to keep the conversation going.

4. Mentorships
Springtide Research Institute discovered only 38% of Gen Z respondents have mentors, though 82% believe mentorship opportunities are vital to their professional and personal success. Millennials also desire mentorship opportunities in their professional and personal lives. According to Gallup, millennials seek managers who take on a mentoring role. The study credits supportive managers with increasing millennial worker engagement—72% of surveyed millennials stated their engagement skyrocketed when their manager made efforts to mentor, rather than merely supervise.  

To attract young members and boost existing member engagement, try matching young professionals with veteran members who have similar interests or career paths. Ensure a good fit by having members complete a profile with demographic data, interests, skill sets, and expectations for the program. Once mentees and mentors are matched, consider hosting mentorship events or meet-ups at association-sponsored conferences. Prompt further dialogue by creating a subgroup for mentors and mentees to connect within your association’s online community. 

TECH TIP: Streamline the mentorship matching process with Nimble AMS’ comprehensive member accounts. Use Nimble Query to track member profiles and display easy-to-read results.

5. Association career center
Career advancement assistance is a desirable member benefit for all early careerists. The easiest way your association can provide superior career support for members is by investing in your job board. Career centers naturally attract new members, drive website traffic, and even boost non-dues revenue.  

Level up your current career center by creating a young professional career guide that outlines career development, industry training and certifications, and employer recruitment tips. Also, consider hosting a virtual or in-person career fair to help young professionals network with potential employers.

TECH TIP: Integrate Nimble AMS with Community Brands software,YM Careers, to attract young members to your association and launch their careers.

Learn more

Young professionals are the future of your association—start recruiting Gen Z and millennials to your organization today! If you still have questions on how to attract young members to your association, check out our tip sheet, Six Tips to Attract Younger Members to Join Your Association.

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