There’s no doubt about it – if you want your association to thrive, you need to recruit and retain members of all ages, including the younger members who will grow into experienced association members in time, and replenish your numbers when older members leave or retire. In particular, your association needs to reach out to Generation X and Y. Commentators differ on the exact dates, but in general you could say that Generation X are the post Baby Boomer generation, born anywhere from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s, while Generation Y (or the Millennials) were born from the 1980s onwards.
Generation X and Y were brought up in a different world in comparison to the Baby Boomers and have different expectations for their associations. Perhaps for older members, joining an association was expected, and the choice wasn’t so wide. For younger generations, joining an association is an option and one that you need to make attractive if you want them to pay money to join you. These generations are used to quicker communications, easily accessible information, and getting their voices heard when they have something to say. Here are five steps you can take to get Generation X and Y engaged with your association, from before sign up to when they become members.
- Engage with Mobile and Social Communications. Generation X and Y live in a particularly social world, where communication with businesses is done on social media, and information is available at the tap of a screen, so ensure your association is right at their fingertips, too. A good social media presence is a must, with useful information to encouraging sharing and conversation. And make sure your site is mobile friendly – your visitors want to see a clear and easy to navigate site on their first visit, no matter what device they’re using.
- Offer Free Resources. Generation X and Y want to know what joining your association will do for them, so rather than just tell them, why not show them? Offer some free resources for new prospects, such as white papers or blog posts, or even a topical video or the curation of some relevant news articles. Show them the kind of quality you deliver, a chance to try before they buy.
- Give Them a Chance to Explore Before Joining. Consider extending your free resources to a chance to really explore what your association does, with a short trial membership. Giving access to your full range of resources for a short time will let Generation X and Y experience for themselves what makes your association the right choice for them. Or consider offering interested prospects the chance to attend a meeting or event for free or at a discounted price, to get a feel for what you offer.
- Offer Outstanding Value. One thing Generation X and Y are certainly looking for in their associations is outstanding value for money. They’re very discerning generations who want to know what exactly a product or service can do for them before they buy, with an eye for finding good value for their hard-earned cash. Make sure you offer that with high quality relevant services and excellent value for money, including discounts and offers.
- Create Chances for Them to Get Involved and Make a Difference. Generation X and Y, even more than the generations before them, like to know that their voices have been heard, that their opinions matter, and that what they do makes a difference. That’s why it’s vital that your members are given a range of ways they can contribute to your association’s work. From being on a set task force to the opportunity to campaign or sit on a board, tell them how they can get involved and remember to be flexible – Generation X and Y may well prefer a shorter term project to life membership of a committee.
Making a good connection with Generation X and Y is vital for the future of your association – with good value and strong communication you can reach the younger generations and keep your association strong.