Proven Channels for Boosting Association Membership

Posted By: Donna Oser, CAE Blog, Industry,

Staying ahead of the curve is crucial in the changing landscape of membership marketing. Marketing General Inc.'s 15th Annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report provides useful insights into the specific channels associations employ to recruit new members and retain existing ones. Let's delve into the key takeaways from this aspect of the report to help inform your future membership recruitment efforts.

Email Remains a Cornerstone

Email continues to be the go-to channel for associations, with 85% using it for member recruitment. This channel's enduring prevalence year over year underscores the enduring effectiveness of email campaigns in reaching potential members. Perhaps more compelling, associations reporting increases in both new member acquisitions and renewals are more likely to use email for recruitment. A well-crafted email strategy can be a potent tool for driving growth.

Events & Conferences Matter

The use of association-sponsored events and meetings as a channel for recruitment is also on the rise. 66% of associations count this as one of their regular avenues for recruiting members, up from 58% in 2022. It's particularly noteworthy that associations with renewal rates at or above 80% tend to rely more on association-sponsored events/meetings and chapters for recruitment. 

Social Media Use Increases

Organic social media has gained traction as a recruitment tactic, with 67% of associations using it. This number is up from 62% in the previous year. A compelling online presence helps reach a broader audience.

Channels Vary Across Audiences

Trade associations lean more heavily on events and meetings for recruitment. In contrast, associations with individual memberships or a combination of individual/organizational memberships favor personal sales calls. Understanding the audience is critical to tailoring your recruitment method.

Budget & Size Effect Strategy

The size of your budget and membership numbers play a significant role in determining the breadth of your recruitment tools. Associations with larger budgets and more extensive memberships report using a more diverse range of recruitment strategies.

In conclusion, MGI's Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report underscores the enduring power of email, the growing influence of social media, and the significance of face-to-face interactions in recruitment. 

As association leaders, we must leverage recruitment channels that have proven effective. By taking these insights to heart, we can help more people and organizations benefit from association membership.

Download MGI's  full report here.