U.S. Associations Report Membership Growth
For Third Consecutive Year

A survey of 865 association executives by Marketing General Inc. reflects an overall increase in member engagement, retention, and acquisition—the top membership goals for associations. The survey margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level. Among the highlights of the sixth annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report:

  • Overall Growth—53% of participating associations reported an increase in membership; 24% of associations reporting a gain saw an increase of 6% or more. This is the third consecutive year of membership growth.
  • New Member Acquisition—there has been a 38% increase in the percentage of associations reporting as overall increase in new members since 2010.
  • Member Renewal—36% of participating associations reported no change in renewal rates over the past year. There was a 4% drop among associations reporting a decline in renewable rates, as well as a 4% drop in the number of associations reporting an increase in membership renewal. The report notes that after two years of citing budget cuts and economic hardship as the number one reason for not renewing, association executives now believe that it is the member’s lack of engagement with the organization that is the number one reason for not renewing.

Most associations say that communicating value or benefits is their biggest challenge to growing membership. Additionally, Marketing General’s survey found that the economy/cost of membership is a challenge shared by associations, regardless of its membership type.

In general, membership growth can be attributed to the success of new member acquisition efforts. The greatest challenge to both acquisition and retention is to effectively communicate the value and benefits of membership.

Other areas covered by the survey included uses of social media, email marketing, and changes in association budgets for awareness, branding and member engagement.

The Benchmarking Report and a 10-page executive summary are available for free download on the Marketing General website at www.marketinggeneral.com.