By Melissa Morrovat, Account Coordinator – TouchPoint AMC
Change is inevitable and to stay relevant, associations need to be willing to change and adapt. This is especially true when different generations come together. Millennials play an important role, currently amounting to a third of the global workforce. And coming up right behind them, the Gen Z’ers are now beginning to enter the workforce. When you hear the words Millennials or Gen Z, you may automatically think social media and think that is where you need to focus resources to attract this demographic to your association. While that is a great place to start it, its not your sole solution!
Quite simply, the heart of an association are its members. Members join, and stay with an association, based on what there is to offer them. The main reasons for joining an association used to be programs, networking, events, etc. However, as Millennials and Gen Z’ers are not only entering the workforce, but are now starting to take on leadership roles, the way associations try to attract younger generations will need to change. They may well be your organization’s future leaders and the key to your future!
Here are three of the biggest reasons why younger generations may be hesitant to join your association and how you can change that.
1. Not Offering Responsibility
In the past, large organizations have typically run with a conservative leadership style, which many Millennials/Gen Z’ers don’t relate to. The new generation appreciates transparency and inclusivity. They want to be taken seriously in the work force and feel empowered. They also want to promote social change, and not be a part of an association that is inward focused. Simply put, they want to make a difference! To stay current, why not actively try to recruit some Millennials/Gen Z’ers to your association’s Board or committees? This not only shows them the respect they desire but Millennials/GenZ’ers’ fresh new ideas will likely enhance what your association has to offer.
2. Not Understanding What They
are Looking For
What do Millennials and Gen Z’ers appreciate the most? Their time and how to make the most of it. A work/life balance is what these younger generations look for. Remember that joining an association is a choice and not a mandatory extracurricular, so providing ways to fit into this work/life balance is what will set your organization apart from others. Joining an association surely brings professional networking and educational gains, which in the past would be enough to attract members. With this new generation though you’re going to need to offer more. If Millennials/GenZer’s are choosing to spend their free time involved in your association, making events fun and interactive will keep them engaged. It will also allow for professional growth, networking and the development of genuine friendships.
3. Not Fully Utilizing Social Media
Yes, I did previously say that social media is only a baby step in attracting millennials to your association – but it still is a step not to be overlooked. Over 90% of Millennials and Gen Z’ers use social media, spending a minimum of 25 hours a week online. So, this makes social media platforms the perfect place to recruit new members. When it comes to catching Millennial/GenZ’ers attention though, short and sweet is the way to go. This group is not going to want to read long social media posts that in all reality should be on a blog or website, not on a social post. You’ll want something catchy that will grab their attention right away and make them want to look more for the rest of your information. Another tip – Facebook is not where you are going to find this group – so look to other platforms as well.
Keeping up with the changing times has become a new normal for everyone. Millennials and Gen Z’ers are looking for networking opportunities and fun events, all while developing pathways for professional growth and creating social change. Providing them these opportunities within your association will help attract and retain members.