Community Brands conducted a 2021 Association Trends Study to help association leaders better understand the changing interests of their members. In the past year-and-a-half, much has shifted for professional membership associations. Staff had to move to a work-from-home setting (and in some cases back again) while continuing to provide value to members in an all-virtual or hybrid (in-person and online) environment. Members faced challenges in many aspects of their lives as well.
One insight that stands out from the study: Members need their associations more than ever.
Professional organizations remain a beacon in uncertain times. Members say the importance of their organization has grown – even more than in a similar study conducted last year. Loyalty metrics also remain strong, and younger and more diverse members are increasing their engagement.
Members describe how important their organizations are today compared to a year ago:
- 56% say it’s more important
- 35% say the same
- 6% say less
Here are some key takeaways from the 2021 Association Trends Study that show how associations can provide for their members.
Hybrid events are the future
Members expect their organization to offer hybrid (in-person and virtual) options for all or most events and are more hesitant than Pros about getting back to in-person this fall. Pros are embracing hybrid event models, but it is not without challenges. Your association can connect employers and job seekers at your annual meetings, events or career fairs – and YM Careers can deliver those events in a hybrid setting. Career events are fully managed by the YM Careers events team – from marketing, to sales, to execution. Cater to your members by hosting hybrid events that will grow member value and engagement and connect employers with qualified candidates – all while increasing your non-dues revenue.
Members want more learning options
As in previous surveys, employers and professional organizations continue to be the most popular sources of education and training for members. At the same time, while most Pros are focused on traditional conferences and courses (online and in-person), members are interested in a range of professional training opportunities. Your association can show members and early career professionals a clear path to reach their professional goals, including providing recommended courses and learning paths. Career Journey® by YM Careers inspires and empowers members to map out their career path. This career center solution allows members to plan their next career step with confidence that it will help them reach their ultimate career goals. Members are provided with a description of each role and a highlight of the critical skills needed to be successful in that role. They can then evaluate their current skills and determine what areas they need to focus on in order to succeed. Members can design their own personalized career action plans, including the learning, training and experiences required to reach their career goals.
Association Pros underestimate the value members place on career development
While 36% of members want help with career advancement, only 30% of Pros see that as a valuable member benefit. A discrepancy of 6% exists between members and Pros on the value of mentoring. By having robust, innovative career center software, your association can offer members the resources and insights they need to research, plan and develop their careers and be the ultimate career planning destination. And, only 19% of Pros believe job opportunities are important but 35% of members want those provided by their association. Your organization can match members with their next great job opportunity. Attract and engage members while maximizing revenue with the world’s top niche job board software – YM Careers.
After more than a year of disturbances, distractions, and adjustments, many associations now face a new challenge: How to move forward when members’ needs, behaviors, and perspectives have changed. One fact is clear: Members need their associations more than ever.
Get the 2021 Association Trends Study
Access the full study to learn even more about what members want from their associations.