Association Membership Growth Surges

The theme for the 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report is the continued positive growth in association total membership numbers.
A total of 894 associations participated in the research this year and altogether 53% of them reported growth in their overall membership numbers.  While 15% said that their membership stayed the same, 28% saw a decline, and 4% were unsure if their membership grew or declined.  A full 24% of associations saw total membership growth of 6% or higher.  While only 8% of associations saw total membership declines of 6% or more.

Interestingly, the growth again this year did not come from increased renewal rates, but from higher levels of new member recruitment.  Overall, 59% of all respondents said that their new member input had grown.  But of those associations showing an increase in total membership, 70% said that their new member input had increased.  While only 17% of those associations showing a decrease in total membership said that their new member input had increased. 
The same was not true with renewals.  Only 30% of all respondents reported an increase their renewal rate this year (down from 35% last year).  In fact, the mean renewal rate reported this year fell from 79% to 76% for individual membership associations and from 87% to 85% for trade associations.  It did increase from 76% to 80% for hybrid associations (those that offer both individual and organizational membership).
Still maintaining strong renewal rates obviously assists with growth.  Of those associations that report an increase in overall membership, 56% of them had renewal rates of 80% or better.  Conversely, of those associations that reported a decline in overall membership only 26% had renewal rates of 80% or better.
This is the sixth consecutive year that this membership marketing benchmarking research has been conducted.  A full, printed report is scheduled to be distributed to survey participants in June. 

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