Associations Report Continued Membership Growth

Is membership growth a possibility even in today’s economy? Our membership marketing benchmarking data would indicate that it is.

As you may recall, I am analyzing data from over 400 associations that participated in our membership marketing benchmarking survey this spring. We inquired about growth over the past year and over the last five years.

Here is what we are finding. Over the past year, 46% of associations are reporting that they have seen their total membership grow. While 16% have remained the same and 35% have seen a decline in membership numbers. The numbers do not add up to 100 because some respondents were not sure whether membership grew or declined.

The numbers show a stronger picture when looked at over the past five years. During this time period, 60% of respondents reported growth. And 26% of the associations had membership growth of over 10%. At the same time, 8% reported no change and 26% reported a decline.

In addition to seeing strong growth in overall membership, the data indicates that new member input has also been strong over the past year with 54% reporting an increase in new member input. While 22% have seen a decline and 24% have remained the same.

Although we did not ask for trend data on renewals, we might infer from the data that since new member input is up over the past year at a higher rate than overall membership growth, renewal rates must be lower on average for associations.

2 comments:

Keith said...

Is there any specific data on what retention rates are for individual and for organizational memberships? Also, what about new member acquisition? I'm looking for trends information.

Tony Rossell said...

Hi Keith -- I have data on each of those items. The report will officially be released at ASAE 09, but as I have time, I am pulling out data and reporting on it. Your question has prompted me to begin to put together a post on membership renewal rates based on organization size -- under 5,000 members compared to over 5,000 members. I should have that up over the next week. Tony