Association Membership: How Does Your Association Measure Up?

Posted By: Donna Oser, CAE Blog, Industry,

Chart compliments of Marketing General Incorporated 2022 Membership Benchmarking Report  

As associations hustle to expand impact and grow membership, it's helpful to have reliable performance data for comparison. MGI's Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey serves the purpose exceedingly well. The 14th annual edition of the report was published recently and includes data from 700+ unique organizations. Over the next few weeks, we'll share some of the research findings that may be useful as you evaluate your association's performance and plan for the coming membership year. 

This week's blog shares the high points on overall numbers and some characteristics that growing associations share.     

While overall numbers are improving, membership is still a mixed bag: 

  • 38% of respondents indicated an increase in total membership 
  • 33% of respondents showed a decrease in total membership
  • 29% of respondents reported no change in total membership

Through careful analysis of those associations reporting overall membership growth, MGI identifies the following characteristics as having a positive correlation to overall association membership growth: 

  • Adding new members 
  • Providing value to members 
  • Engaging members


Adding New Members 

43% of all associations reported new member growth (up from 29% in 2021). According to MGI, "Associations reporting increases in their one-year and five-year membership numbers are significantly more likely to report increases in new member acquisition." The median membership renewal rate is 84% and has remained relatively stable over the years, so new member acquisition is key to growth.  

Providing Value to Members

When an association's team members are confident in the value they're providing, the association tends to grow. According to the team at MGI, "Associations reporting increases in their membership levels and those having a renewal rate of 80% or higher are more likely to believe their value proposition to members is compelling or very compelling." It's interesting that just 53% of associations responding believed their value proposition to be compelling or very compelling. 

Engaging Members

Survey results reveal a positive correlation between associations with membership growth and those with increased member engagement. The pandemic may have changed how that engagement occurred, though. The most significant engagement growth areas were: 

  • Increased attendance at webinars (66%)
  • Participation in the association's public social network (60%)
  • Increased use of career services (55%, up from 37% in 2021)

Next week we'll take a look at what tactics are paying off for new member recruitment. Meanwhile, how do you feel about the value your association is providing to members? Value might be an interesting topic for an upcoming staff meeting!

Download the full report at