What do you think the only constant is in life? I think you would agree with me if I said change. I have one more question for you. Is gaining new members and retaining members in your association an art or a science? It is no easy task to get people to pay dues to consistently be a part of an association every year. I won’t tell you the exact science on how to convince everyone to join your association because there isn’t an exact science, but I will share a few tips on the art of making membership for your association more attractive.

With outside factors such as the economy, other associations offering similar benefits and industry changes, identifying what your members want and need can help with retention and increase the value for your members. With so many options in today’s society, competition amongst associations in the same industry is another factor for wanting to make that membership even more attractive. Let’s start with why people join associations.

Dr. Mark Hager, a professor from ASU, states in his blog, individuals may join associations for one of two reasons: private incentives or public incentives. Individuals join an association for private incentives because the association may help them in some specific way, such as exposing them to career opportunities, providing them with leadership experience, giving them information on developments in the field, or providing them with conference or other educational programming (Hagar). You will find that many Generation X and Y’s will join associations for this type of incentive. In terms of public incentives, individuals join associations that helps a broader array of people, even if we happen to be included in that array. For example, individuals might become a member because the association promotes the development of their field, promotes broader public awareness of the work of the field, lobbies to influence policy on critical social issues, or promotes a code of ethics for work in the field. This type of incentives may be more popular for those who are already established in their field. Let’s think about how to re-evaluate your membership strategy to incorporate both public and private incentives and how you could potentially gain a whole new group of members.

YNPN has incorporated the Four Pillars of Leadership Development that members have identified over YNPN’s 15 years as most valuable to their own leadership development. They are: access to training for specific skills & competencies, space to exercise those skills, access to networks, and individual coaching & support. This is another example of private incentives YNPN is offering their members based on the members needs. YNPN Phoenix chapter offers incentives such as free member only events and non members are able to attend monthly YNPN Phoenix professional development and networking events at a small fee. For more information on benefits of YNPN Phoenix and to become a member visit Membership

Finally, listing statistical data instead of intangible or obscure data is a great tool for separating your association’s membership from the competition. For example, today in the internet world everyone is using analytics to track data. By continually evolving and tracking how many members received more business from networking with other members via surveys will provide the information and solid outcomes of becoming a member. Let’s face it we cannot do everything alone; we need to be a part of something. Why not give individuals a reason to be a part of YOUR something?

Reference: Hagar, Mark, “Who Engages in Professional Associations?” August 19. 2014 http://blog.lodestar.asu.edu/