Recruiting and retaining members is fundamental to the success of any association, but it’s often easier said than done. One reason for this is there’s often a disparity in what associations think members want from their organization and what members actually value. Another reason is you have to capture members early on in their careers. In fact, 62 percent of all members join an association within the first five years of their careers and become increasingly difficult to recruit as they advance in their chosen fields.
Let’s look at how your association could be helping Millennial members further their careers.
According to the recent Member Education and Career Development Report conducted by Community Brands, continuing education and certifications rank high as valuable member benefits across all generations. Millennials, in particular, value opportunities for career advancement. It’s up to the association to demonstrate to these younger prospects how joining their organization will help them grow in their careers.
Learning new skills and mentoring programs/professional advice rank as “very important” to Millennials, according to the study. The three top motivators that play a role in members’ reasons to participate in professional training are: keeping up to date with new best practices and new innovative approaches, becoming more competent in their jobs, and earning or keeping up with certifications.
When it comes to discovering new job postings from their professional membership organization and within their professional networks, Millennials expect their associations to keep up with technology. Overall, most members prefer dedicated emails, monthly newsletters, and email recommendations specific to them based on past activity. Member behaviors are showing a desire for targeted, relevant messaging around what they are most interested in.
Millennials like the idea of being able to connect their continuing education directly to available jobs or employers. They embrace social sharing, digital badges and posting tactics that allow them to highlight their continuing education on places like job boards, LinkedIn and other professional and social profiles.
Millennials additionally prioritize continuing education opportunities as benefits they seek and need. Members prefer personalized learning paths that are self-constructed or recommended and use various modes of learning to best fit with their lifestyle. When asked about their interest in recommended learning paths, members report a desire for recommendations based largely on required job skills, certification opportunities, career stage and past interest in particular topics.
One way to demonstrate how an association can deliver on the benefits above is through an association job board. A career center with job alerts, personalized searches, and recommendations, plus the ability for members to import their resumes from LinkedIn and log in through existing social accounts, such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, will go a long way in driving member acquisition and boosting engagement.
An association can go even further to explicitly drive membership by using prime real estate on the job board to promote it; for example, intelligently placed call-to-actions encouraging site visitors to join the association that link directly back to the association member benefits page.
Once at the association page, they can simply follow the association’s process for joining. In this way, the job board not only functions as a valuable member benefit to all generations in search of relevant job postings, but it also increases the opportunity for member acquisition and ultimately revenue. Furthermore, strategically promoting membership registration will help these prospective members keep your association top-of-mind as they search for career opportunities. Being presented with reminders about becoming a member can only increase chances of them acting on it. These consistent reminders also help reinforce your brand.