The Decision to Join


This is an exciting time for those involved in managing and marketing membership.

Perhaps as never before, associations are looking for and using data to make important decisions. As we learned from ASAE and the Center’s book, 7 Measures of Success, there is a clear correlation between successful associations and those that build the organization around the collection and use of data.

Now practical assistance in data driven decisions for membership professionals is available with the release by ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership of The Decision to Join: How individuals determine value and why they choose to belong.

The Decision to Join study included 18 individual membership associations.

  • American Chemical Society

  • American College of Healthcare Executives

  • American Geophysical Union

  • American Health Information Management Association

  • American Society for Quality

  • American Society of Civil Engineers

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers

  • The College of American Pathologists

  • Credit Union Executives Society

  • Emergency Nurses Association

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

  • Institute of Food Technologists

  • National Association of Secondary School Principals

  • National Athletic Trainers Association

  • National Court Reporters Association

  • National Society of Accountants

  • Project Management Institute

  • School Nutrition Association

A total of 16,944 responses to the survey were received from not only current members of these associations, but also to former members and those who have never been members. This means the data is statistically very reliable.

The book explores the impact of issues on membership like: the image of associations, reasons members drop, generations and career level, gender, and employment setting.

The top personal benefits for deciding to join an association highlighted by respondents are networking with other professionals in the field and gaining access to up to date information.

However, the study also supports the concept that a member’s decision to be a part of an association is also tied to much more than a classic procurement decision. Respondents highlighted that “promoting a greater appreciation of the role and values” of the association motivated the decision to join.

Over the next few weeks, I will do some posts on the specific findings from the book.

Have you read it yet? What do you think?

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