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Research-based Tips to Improve the Association Member Experience

What does it take to improve the association member experience? There are multiple aspects to this challenge. But association research suggests that associations may be struggling to meet member expectations and that meeting the career development needs of members based on their career stage can help to deliver the benefits and experience members are seeking.

Association research findings about the member experience

Forj’s 2023 State of Association Member Experience: Members as Disruptor report indicates that perspectives, behaviors, and needs of members vary based on career stage. The report found that early-career members were less likely to “definitely renew” their membership (42.7 percent) than mid-career members (60.8 percent) or late-career members (68.6 percent).

The report also found that midcareer members are the least satisfied with their associations compared to late-career and early-career members, and that early-career members are also at risk of not renewing membership because they make less money than their counterparts and are less stable in their careers.

Meanwhile, the Community Brands 2023 Association Trends Study suggests that multiple benefits have risen in importance to members that association professionals under-value, including job opportunities and help with career advancement. These benefits are especially important to members who are in the early and middle stages of their careers.

2023 member priorities based on career stage

And while about two-thirds of association professionals say their organization offers an online job board, fewer provide other career development options that members seek, including career advice and insights, mentoring, peer data, and résumé reviews. Gen Z and Millennial members are especially interested in these options and are more likely to say that organizations will no longer be a preferred source for career assistance if they fail to innovate in this area.

These and other findings in the studies suggest an opportunity for associations to invest in and elevate career development benefits – ultimately improving the member experience.

Tips to improve the association member experience

With a focus on providing the career development support that members seek, here are six tips to help you improve the association member experience:

1. Connect job seekers with job opportunities.

As an association for your industry or profession, you have a unique opportunity to offer an online job board that stands out from the crowd. General job sites cast a wide net for job seekers and employers, but as an organization for your industry or profession, you can provide job seekers with a focused list of job opportunities.


2. Help students and new graduates kickstart their careers.

Give students and new graduates the help they need to take the first step in their careers: Offer them a way to connect with employers who are looking for interns.

Learn how to attract the next generation of members.

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3. Offer career advice and coaching.

Take your job board to the next level by offering an online career center that gives members support to develop professionally and land the jobs they’re seeking. For example, incorporate these career development resources with your job board:

Articles, tips, and recommendations – Offer industry-specific articles and other content about topics including résumé and cover letter writing, interview preparation, building a personal brand, presenting a professional online presence, career planning, making career changes, and more.

Career Advice

Career Advice – Career Planning Portal by YM Careers

Career coaches – Connect members with certified career coaches to help them determine a career direction, develop critical job-hunting skills, work through career challenges, and find opportunities for professional growth.

Career Coaching

Career Coaching – Career Planning Portal by YM Careers

4. Connect mentees and mentors.

Connect members who are in the early or middle stages of their careers with a mentor to help them grow professionally. This approach not only benefits younger members, but also gives members who are later in their careers a chance to share their experience and knowledge while making a positive impact on their industry or profession.

TECH TIP: YM Careers MentorBoard helps you facilitate mentorships through online mentoring. It gives your members the ability to set up their own accounts and profiles with the information needed to qualify them as a “mentee”. They can then search user profiles and initiate contact with a potential mentor. Later in the member journey, those same professionals can then share their experience by becoming a mentor. This keeps both new and renewing members engaged and active with your association.

5. Provide a career path tool.

Take your online career center further by offering your members a way to create a clear roadmap to reach their professional goals. Provide them with an online tool to visually map out and achieve their career aspirations.

Computer screen showing UM Careers, Career path tool

Career Paths – Career Planning Portal by YM Careers

6. Deliver valuable career data.

As part of your career center, help your members dig deeper to understand more about their chosen career paths. Give them access to career data – including career descriptions, salary benchmarks, unemployment data, and occupational outlooks – helping them gain the insights they need to move forward or change direction.

Career Insights

Career Insights – Career Planning Portal by YM Careers

Learn more about providing career benefits to improve the member experience.

Learn more about how to create an online career center that will make your association the ultimate career development destination for your industry or profession – driving greater value for your members and your organization.

Request a personalized demo.

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