Increasing membership for your association isn’t always easy. It requires reaching out to prospective members and driving a continuous stream of new members to your organization.
Here’s something to consider: When it comes to attracting new members to your association, young professionals are a critically important audience. Association industry research by Community Brands shows that most members join a professional organization as a student, new grad or early in their careers. About one-third of members join before employment, and more than 41 percent join within the first five years of employment.
That same report indicates that job opportunities are the top reason those early in their careers join an association. After they join, professional development benefits, including job opportunities, career advancement, and mentoring, are in the top 10 benefits they value most.
This group of prospective members represents the future of your association membership. Becoming a part of their career journey is a great way to attract new members and keep them around for years to come.
So, how can you appeal to young professionals to attract them to join your association as new members? Here are five ideas:
1. Set a membership budget-friendly.
Young professionals tend to be budget-conscious. So, for this group, price can be a barrier to joining an association. Consider offering reduced pricing on membership dues for students and new grads. You also might offer a budget-friendly monthly payment option.
2. Offer an online internship board.
Young professionals often kick off their careers with internships in their industry or professional field. You can help them out by offering an online internship board to connect them with employers that have internship opportunities.
For example, using YM Careers’ job board software for associations, you can easily create a stand-alone internship board or integrate one. With a YM Careers online internship board, internship seekers can easily:
- Create their own accounts and profiles
- Add résumés and cover letters
- Search internship postings and apply directly within the job board or externally by following employers’ instructions
- Set up alerts to be notified when a new well-matched position is posted
You can then highlight your internship board on your association’s website, newsletter, and career center to help students and new graduates understand that your association is the perfect place to find help with growing their careers.
3. Provide an online mentor board.
Another approach students and new grads often take is to find a mentor to help them grow professionally as they enter the workforce. You can support their efforts by offering an online mentor board to connect them with experienced professionals in your industry who are seeking to help those who are early in their careers.
Using YM Careers MentorBoard, you can give students and graduates the ability to set up their own accounts and profiles with all information needed to qualify them as a “mentee”. They can then search user profiles and initiate contact with a potential mentor.
Over time, those young professionals can begin to share their knowledge by becoming a mentor to the next wave of young professionals. This cycle helps to keep new and renewing members engaged with your association.
4. Deliver continuing education and certification opportunities.
As students and new grads look to grow professionally, they want ways to become more attractive in the job market. You can help them by providing them with professional education opportunities. A learning management system (LMS) can help you to deliver the types of educational experiences your professionals are seeking.
For example, Crowd Wisdom LMS by Community Brands helps you build highly personalized and engaging online experiences for your continuing education program. You can use Crowd Wisdom with YM Careers to showcase job opportunities alongside learning paths – allowing you to do things like recommend learning courses that will help professionals become more qualified for specific job opportunities.
5. Provide resources for career growth.
Young professionals typically do not have much resume-writing, interviewing, or employment experience to draw from. They don’t always know which jobs might be a good fit for their skills, knowledge, and career aspirations. That’s why a great way to support students and new grads is to provide them with resources to help them reach their professional goals.
You can use Career Planning Portal, which comes with YM Careers job board software, to help give young professionals:
- Career advice – Offer articles and other resources to help new job seekers learn about writing résumés and cover letters, preparing for interviews, building a personal brand in today’s social media-driven environment, and navigating the world of networking.
- A career pathing tool – Give new job seekers a tool to map out their career goals and see an interactive step-by-step plan to reach them.
- Career insights – Provide information, including job outlook, average salary, and day-in-the-life videos, about various positions in your industry to help new professionals determine what types of jobs make sense for them.
- Career coaching – Offer a way for young workers to connect with professional coaches who can help them develop critical skills to land a job.
Take the next steps to grow membership among young professionals at your association.
With the right career center technology and approaches, you can deliver member experiences that attract and retain students and new graduates – the future of your association. Learn more about how YM Careers can help your association recruit and retain students and new grads, deliver greater member value, improve member engagement, and ultimately drive greater member loyalty.