Characteristics of Growing and Declining Associations

When we talk about membership, most would agree that growing the number of members is a good thing. But why do we agree with this? What are the implications of a growing membership compared to a declining membership?

Here are some of the impacts that I have observed in associations with increasing and declining memberships.

Characteristics of Growing Associations


  • Economic
    Efficiency is increased as fixed costs spread over more members
    More net revenue is available for investment in new initiatives

  • Members
    Boosts confidence of current and potential members
    High demand associations can set the agenda on pricing

  • Staff
    Attract brightest and best staff (also volunteers and thinkers)
    More opportunities to enhance personal skills and expertise

Characteristics of Declining Associations

  • Economic
    Budgets are too tight to try new initiatives
    Efficiency is lower as fixed costs are spread over fewer members

  • Members
    Less momentum and excitement with members
    Members demand lower pricing

  • Staff
    Financial rewards lower
    Less personal growth opportunity
In my upcoming posts, I would like to look at some of the key strategic drivers of membership growth. Does your experience allign with what I have outlined above?

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