How to Attract and Retain Younger Members

As Associations and professional organizations try to keep up with technology, they are also finding that it is even harder to attract and retain the next wave of younger “Millennium” members.  Most of the “Baby Boomer” generation (including myself) grew up on being involved in Associations for education and to develop long lasting relationships.  Today’s generation grew up on the internet, immediate answers, immediate feedback and social media.  Associations and professional organizations need to work on keeping up with the times and with the next wave of their attendee base.

Below are some “tips” that I put together on How to Attract and Retain Younger Members:

OFFER DISCOUNTS TO EXISTING MEMBERS TO BRING JUNIOR EMPLOYEES…in order to grow you need to reach out to your existing base.

OFFER A TRIAL PERIOD FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS…Millennials are most likely in a time where they are not committed to the industry so you have to let them “test drive” the benefits of your organization.

OFFER SESSIONS DESIGNED FOR BEGINNERS…large receptions or sessions not geared towards new members will scare them away.  Keep content and sessions fresh and realize that you need to cater to new members also.

OFFER A MENTORSHIP PROGRAM…young professionals want immediate feedback so giving them an experienced member will help give them the quick answers they are looking for.

INVEST IN MARKETING…clear, concise and cool marketing is a great way to draw in the younger generation.  Old ads and old marketing ideas equate to old attendees.

OFFER MARKETING MATERIAL TO SELL THEIR BOSS ON WHY TO ATTEND…in order to get them out of the office you need to not only sell them but you also need to help sell their boss.  Give them the selling tools to help sell their boss.

OFFER SESSIONS THAT SHARE IDEAS…the younger generation does not like to be talked to, they like to share ideas, share suggestions and be involved in the conversation.  Stop offering sessions that talk to them, instead offer sessions that keep attendees connected to the conversation or topic.

USE SOCIAL MEDIAL FOR MARKETING, NOT EMAILS…we are getting to a point where emails are becoming overbearing so the more you can do to reach out via social media, the better off you will be in reaching the younger generation.

MAKE IT EASY TO JOIN AND ALLOW ONLINE REGISTRATION…once again young professionals do not want to have to mail in checks or fill out forms and fax them in.  Allow them to apply online, pay online and become a member or attendee as quickly as possible.