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How to Acquire and Retain Your Association Members

Most associations realize they need a job board for members, but they may not realize all the benefits it can offer. Not only does it help your members find jobs, develop their careers, and provide valuable networking opportunities, but it also helps your association and employers looking for highly-skilled professionals. 

Based on studies conducted by Community Brands over the years, we know that career development is one of the most important reasons members join associations. Career centers help members and job seekers gain access to niche jobs, career resources such as career planning tools and career coaches, and higher candidate recognition to employers. This creates a formula for better member engagement, which in turn makes for loyal members who will continue to renew their memberships and encourage their colleagues to join as well. 

By building a top notch career center, you’ll give employers exclusive access to your members, increased brand recognition, and unmatched recruitment resources. You’ll also provide valuable sponsorship opportunities and ad sales to employers that will drive non-dues revenue for your association. 

Your association also benefits from a career center – it’s one of your biggest sources of non-dues income. It helps you attract new members with engaging content and jobs, better engage and retain current members, and positions you as the top career resource in your industry. A robust career center also gives your association a huge competitive advantage over mass job boards such as Indeed, Google for Jobs, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter. 

How do you acquire new and retain current members? 

Generating revenue and acquiring new members are among the top priorities for associations, and a career center is one of the very best tools you have. Not only do your members use your job board to look for jobs or career resources, but so do other professionals within your industry that you may not have yet acquired as members. You should include membership sign-up content on your career center so that you can capture non-member information in your association management system (AMS) upon sign up. Your AMS will then drive member acquisition campaigns with one-click reporting.  

Your association’s career center is more important than you probably think, and certainly now more than ever. In a 2020 study conducted by Community Brands, only 28% of association staff think that new job opportunities are among the most important benefits associations offer. However, 70% of members view them as one of the most important benefits associations can provide. Clearly, a large gap exists here that you can fill. Association job boards are seeing an increase in job seeker traffic as professionals turn to them as a resource for job opportunities, continuing education, or networking. With the right technology provider and proven sales and marketing tactics, your career center can be a pivotal source of engagement and revenue for your organization. 

When you present job seekers with learning opportunities, they are more likely to visit your education catalog and invest in their continuing education. You also have a better chance at getting them to become members – all from the use of your job board.  

Community Brands research shows that 85% of members want organization to provide continuing education opportunities. The majority wants learning path recommendations based on required job skills, but certification opportunities and recommendations based on career stage are also important. 


So, how do you make members aware that you’re providing them with exactly what they want? More importantly, do you know how they’d prefer to be communicated with, and through what channels? A myriad of ways exist to reach job seekers, such as emails, newsletters, and social media. Community Brands has found that 59% of members want new, relevant jobs delivered directly into their inboxes via a dedicated job email – such as the YM Careers Network Job Flash™. We provide this service for our partners at no extra cost, and employers are willing to pay extra to distribute their jobs to your potential candidates – leaving your association with more money in your pocket.  

38% of members prefer a monthly newsletter from their associations, so ensure you’re emailing your registered employers and job seekers regularly with tips, best practices, and jobs (or job posting) opportunities. And, 32% of members want email recommendations presented to them based on their past activity with your association’s career center.  

Research shows that members primarily join associations for career growth opportunities. And your members expect you to deliver, while leadership expects increasing revenue. Over the past 20 years, YM Careers has helped thousands of associations implement high-tech, user-friendly career centers that do both!

Watch the on-demand webinar, "Market your career center like a boss", for time-tested expert tips that will propel your career center to the next level.

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