Member Engagement: The Key to Membership Growth Post COVID



An increase in member engagement was the silver lining of the COVID-19 crisis for many associations. Marketing General's recently released Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report highlights the specific areas in which that engagement manifested. It also provides insight into how those increases can be leveraged to grow Membership in the coming year. 


According to the report, association members turned to their professional and trade associations for assistance at record levels. Associations responded to that demand in many ways: 

  • 78% developed new products and services to assist members 
  • 83% reported higher participation in their webinars
  • 57% reported increases in participation in professional development meetings
  • 56% reported increases in visits to members-only sections of websites
  • 37% reported an increase in member use of career services
Membership Growth

MGI sees these increases in engagement as 'foundations for goodwill' that can translate to membership growth. Combining messaging about how well served association members were throughout the crisis with the most effective marketing channels is a smart strategy. Associations identified word-of-mouth (57%), email (50%), and association-sponsored events (40%) as the top three channels for member recruitment. Email (83%), phone calls (42%), and direct mail (41%) were cited as the top three channels for member renewals. 

Effective Tactics

Associations deploy a variety of effective tactics to encourage Membership. For recruiting new members, conference discounts (54%), first-year dues discounts (45%), and dues installments (39%) were reported as most effective. Hardship accommodations (51%), dues installments (35%), and automatic credit card renewal (31%) were cited as the most effective options for renewals.  

2021 marks the thirteenth consecutive year MGI has conducted its annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey. Review the report for keen insight and proven strategies before crafting your membership plan to grow membership this year!