Membership; What's In It For Me?


Friendly millennial here again, this time with a question that you should be able to answer - especially if you want to keep me as a member - Why am I a member? Or, from my point of view, what’s in it for me? Knowing the answer to this question will help you recruit and retain young members like myself.

Start by looking into what your members want. I’m not talking about “stuff” like discounts or swag at a conference. I’m talking about what enriches my life and my career because I’m a member. If you don’t already know what this is, then ask me. Create a survey and ask me why I joined and, more importantly, why I stay.

You may have been planning to do this at your annual conference, but there are two problems with that. The first is, due to recent events, your event was likely canceled or switched to virtual. The second is, I may not be able to attend.

Thanks to updated technology and information, I can access industry peers and experts online. I can see updates on social media, read articles, and watch experts speak in live webinars from the comfort of my own home. This makes it harder to attract me to attend conferences and changes how you should communicate with me.

So, what is the best way to deliver your educational content to me?


If your answer to this query was that you’d bring the event to me online, on-demand, and easy to consume, then you get a gold star (or membership renewal)! Hybridizing your event for members who are unable to attend with digital components or creating an entirely virtual event are both excellent options to engage your new, younger demographic - this was true before the pandemic and is now necessary.

As discussed in Chapter Six of Moving Your Association From Analog to Digital, the idea was to use virtual elements to complement in-person events and battle digital disruption (the book was written pre-pandemic). However, now, more than ever, we live in a digital world and rely on our ability to connect from a distance (my Zoom skills are so strong now).

The truth is, when it’s feasible again, I’ll still go to a live event if I’m able to; solely for the experience it provides and networking opportunities. But I’m not going to be able to attend every session or see every speaker I’d like to. And, even with my meticulous note-taking, I may not capture every educational moment I’d like to. 

This is where you, the association, get to shine. 

Capture this content at the conference (in-person or virtual) and use it to reel me in during the rest of the year. Take this temporary event and put it online, on-demand for all of your members. Now, I can go back and re-watch or see educational moments I missed at the conference, and now the members that couldn’t make it have access to the content as well. This extends your reach and delivers your value proposition to more members. 

This method works well for both virtual and in-person events. Your content is already planned. The speakers have presentations ready. It’s a simple matter of shifting slightly to ensure you record everything so you can use it later to create on-demand content to be consumed by members at their convenience. 

With a little bit of extra work, you can use these recordings as full sessions, repurpose them into podcasts, or create micro-learning videos for your members. AND as an added bonus – if you plan correctly – you can also incorporate sponsorships and advertisements into this captured content to create more non-dues revenue.

So, what’s in this for you?

Well, you, my association, can effectively use the above model to create and distribute video and multimedia content year-round to more members. When planned correctly, this can save costs, generate more content, boost engagement, and even drive revenues through sponsorships and advertising. Most importantly, it puts the member experience at the heart of your initiatives and improves retention and recruitment opportunities.

Digital offerings extend your value and reach. Ultimately, they’ll keep members engaged year-round with entertaining and educational content like videos, podcasts, articles, and blog posts that they otherwise would not have seen. You give me, the millennial member, the information I need to take my career to the next level, and I give you my association, membership dues, data, and non-dues revenue.



If you want to learn about other strategies to recruit and retain me and my peers, it’s all in Chapter Six of this book.  

Analog-to-Digital Cover
Chapter 6: Leveraging Multimedia for Retention and Recruitment

Why is membership renewal for many associations an event rather than a process? Why do many associations spend more on recruitment than retention? Why do less than 15% of your members attend your conferences? Get answers to these questions and more in the latest guide by Dan Stevens, "Moving Your Association From Analog to Digital - Creating Association Prosperity" - click here to get your free copy today.




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