Planning for the future isn’t always easy. You want to grow your association, but after nearly three years of ups, downs, twists, and turns, how do you know what to do next? And how do you know if you have the right plans in place for association growth? Each year, Community Brands conducts association trends research to dive into questions about how members are feeling about their professional organization, what’s most important to members, what’s happening inside associations, and more.
2022 Association Trends Study: The Future-Focused Member Experience
This study, with data collected from hundreds of association leaders and a thousand members, will help guide your strategies and give you actionable take-aways to drive more engagement and loyalty.
Let’s look at three association trends from this research and how they can help position your association for future growth.
1. Member loyalty has softened a bit.
The 2022 Association Trends Study shows that during the pandemic, members looked to their organization as a beacon in tough times. While loyalty is still strong, it has softened somewhat. This suggests that professional membership organizations must continue to provide big value to keep member loyalty high.
2. Member priorities have shifted
In the 2021 study, members focused on bigger picture areas that involved understanding and protecting their industry. 2022 data suggests a shift in member priorities: Benefits that impact an individual’s career – including job opportunities and help with career advancement – have risen in importance. These were once top priorities for members early in their career, but now are also critical for mid-careerists.
Meanwhile, association trends show that association professionals continue to underestimate the importance of job opportunities and help with career advancement, indicating a strong opportunity for organizations to invest in and elevate these benefits in their value proposition.
3. The link between member loyalty and tech remains strong.
The 2022 study shows that there remains a strong correlation between technology and member loyalty. Members who view their professional organization as an early adopter of technology are more satisfied and connected with the organization, more likely to renew, and more likely to promote the organization. However, in the 2022 study, less than 20 percent of association professionals say they are “very prepared” technologically for the future – indicating that they still have work to do when it comes to technology.
How to grow your association
So, how can you use these association trends to grow your organization? Here are some tips:
Give members more of the career help they want.
It’s clear that members want job opportunities and help advancing their careers. So, give them more of what they want to attract more members and strengthen member loyalty:
- If you don’t offer an online job board, it’s time to provide this valuable member benefit. An online job board, or online career center, is a highly effective way to keep members more engaged by connecting members with job opportunities and career advancement resources throughout the year.
- If you do offer an online career center, make it more than just a place for members to view job openings. Provide members (and non-members) with a wealth of career development resources to help them in every stage of their careers. These resources can include everything from helpful articles and tips to career data and access to career coaches.
- Host career events throughout the year.
You can also use your career center as a vehicle for events throughout the year to grow your members’ careers and drive revenue for your organization. For example, here are a few events you can host through your career center to give your members and other job seekers more value while driving revenue (these can be hosted as in-person, virtual, or hybrid events):
- Career fairs – With career fairs, employers purchase booths where they spotlight their open jobs, company information, and other related materials. Job candidates can visit these booths during the event to chat with prospective employers.
- Résumé reviews – Offer your members and industry job seekers free résumé reviews given by expert résumé writers and career coaches.
- Mentoring events – Plan an event that connects mentors and mentees by offering times and spaces where the two groups can engage one-on-one.
Find the right job board software for your association.
Using the right job board software and career center solutions can help you provide a great online career center that delivers member value and drives revenue for your organization without a lot of added work. YM Careers by Community Brands provides easy-to-use job board software plus career development solutions to help you build the ultimate career center for your industry. It includes:
- Powerful job posting and distribution tools with these capabilities:
- Job postings – Employers can pay a fee to easily post and promote job opportunities; job seekers can search and apply for these highly relevant jobs online.
- Candidate screening and management – Provide employers with functionality to screen and manage applicants.
- Features to maximize exposure of employers’ job postings and drive more revenue for your organization:
- Job alert email – Introduce a job email to your members. Employers are often willing to pay extra for this distribution of their jobs to candidates.
- Jobs feed or widget – Add one of these to your member and prospective member e-newsletters with recently posted jobs that employers pay extra to promote.
- Banner advertising – Give employers the opportunity to place banner ads on your job board, directing job seekers from your career center to the employers’ job posting(s).
- Unmatched career-building tools to help job seekers land jobs and grow their careers:
- Advice – Provide career advice, with professional resources and coaching, including articles, tips, best practices, résumé reviews, and access to career coaches.
- Coaching – Match members with career experts who will guide member in career planning, interview preparation, negotiation, and more.
- Insights – Give members detailed career data, including salary, education and skills requirements, activities performed, outlooks for job growth, and related jobs, to help members make informed career decisions.
- Pathing – Give your members a clear roadmap to reach their professional goals with an online tool to visualize the steps from the job they have today to their career goals.
- Mentoring – Help members connect with mentors who can provide them with ongoing professional guidance and support.
YM Careers can help your association to grow by becoming a career destination for your members and generating unmatched revenue – without requiring a lot of extra effort from your staff. Investing in an online career center as part of a long-term technology strategy will provide a strong foundation to prepare your organization for growth – no matter what the future might bring.