Association Members See Light at the End of the Tunnel

Association Members See Light at the End of the Tunnel

Association members from across the country are now more optimistic about the impact of the economy on their involvement in the association community, according to a survey released by ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership. The results show that professionals who belong to associations believe their employment outlook will improve in the coming year.

ASAE & The Center has now conducted three surveys as part of its "Impact Study: Beliefs, Behaviors and Attitudes in Response to the Economy." This third installment is a follow-up to the winter study of professionals who belong to at least one association to determine how their perspectives may have changed based on the shifting economic climate. Seventy-seven associations agreed to share their membership lists, culminating in more than 7,000 responses, representing both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

"The economy appears to be positioned for recovery and many members of associations across the country are much more optimistic than they were earlier this year," said John H. Graham IV, CAE, president and CEO, ASAE & The Center. "Associations, however, are typically a late indicator of the economy and it may be another year before we see any improvements. Despite the predictions on the future of this economic downturn, it's important for our organizations to remain nimble and ready to adjust our offerings based on what our members need and expect."

The key findings indicate that:


  • A substantially larger proportion of respondents say they feel their employment situation will improve in the coming year.


  • Employers are starting to hold back on payment of dues and members are more likely to report intention to drop their membership than they were last winter.


  • There is virtually no impact on how far association members will travel in the coming year as compared to the winter study, which means nearly 40% of respondents will travel more miles in the next 12 months.


  • Two areas where participation has increased are online meetings and social media. The proportion of members participating in online training events jumped from 30.4 percent to 35.8 percent, and the increase in those participating in an association activity via Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media platform spiked from 9.8 to 16.3 percent.