What 50,000 Members Say

ASAE has updated some of its most significant and valuable research to reveal why people join associations, become active in associations, and choose to be leaders in associations. The results, based on interviews with 50,000 association professionals, are intriguing.

Here are some of the more significant findings:

  • People like being connected to a cause, being part of a community.
  • Getting members to join by making it cheap never works long-term. If they only join based on price, they’re leave for the same reason.
  • Quality standards and guidelines are some of the most valuable benefits you can offer.
  • About 70% of members never volunteer for the association they belong to, usually because they have not been asked or asked often enough.
  • The most effective way to get a member involved is a peer-to-peer invitation. When and where you ask also matters. A personal invitation is always better than an email. Always.

ASAE’s examination into membership recruitment also offers some interesting statistics. Only 4% of members learned about their association by direct contact. The leading source was word-of-mouth information. Twenty-six percent learned from Instructors and professors. So, what does this say about the quality of our prospect list?

Not surprisingly, only 40% of an association’s members can be considered promoters of the association. But what was surprising was learning that only 66% of board members promote their own associations.

What also comes through loud and clear in this research is that once a member gets involved, we must be clear what’s involved and when, how much time is required. Perhaps most importantly, what will the member gain from the committee experience?

Furthermore, we need to find outlets for virtual volunteers, the study reveals. That means contributing without even joining a conference call. One effective technique: Posting discussions and documents on a Google Drive, and then allowing committee members to post comments.

One final revelation that validates the approach we at REM always encourage: Members want information and data now. They don’t want to wait for a printed publication, a study, or anything else that would delay delivery. Faster information in smaller chunks beats long copy formats every time.

If you’d like to discuss any of these findings at your next board meeting, contact me.

Comments are closed.