Membership Growth Helps Increase All Association Products and Services

The famous quote from John F. Kennedy, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” certainly applies to membership.
In our soon to be released Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, we cross-tabulated organizations that reported an increase in membership numbers to the outcomes that they were experiencing in other areas of the association. 
When we compare associations who saw a decrease or no change in membership over the past year to associations reporting growth in membership, we see associations with increasing membership reporting better performance in many categories.  
Here are the associations reporting increases in a category -- like meeting attendance or volunteerism -- broken out by the percentage who had memberships that Increased/Unchanged/ Decreased). 
·        Attendance at annual conference/trade show (55% vs. 45% and 34% respectively)
·        Attendance at professional development meetings (52% vs. 38% and 33%)
·        Attendance of webinars (70% vs. 45% and 54%)
·        Volunteerism (37% vs. 30% and 17%)
·        Number of members who acquire or maintain certification (59% vs. 42% and 36%)
·        Purchase of non-dues products (45% vs. 24% and 25%)
·        Purchase of non-dues services (46% vs. 28% and 17%)
·        Number of visits to members-only section of website (61% vs. 48% and 36%)
Fundamentally, for most associations, members are the driving force behind attendance, volunteerism, and purchases.  Members pay the association to be customer.  A growing and thriving member base contributes revenue and time to all areas of an association.


Scott Oser said...

Hi Tony,

This is good information. I agree that in the large majority of associations the members are the primary purchasers of products and services. Therefore it makes sense that growth in membership will correlate to growth in sales of products and services. You and I have discussed causation and correlation many times and I know that your findings suggest correlation, not causation. That said, I wonder if this correlation is so strong because associations don't do an effective job of marketing their products and services to non-members. Just something to think about.....


Tony Rossell said...

Scott -- As always, I appreciate your comments. Yes, there are a number of ways you can look at the data. Another way to look at it is perhaps associations that produce terrific products and services encourages members to join. However, I feel that membership growth tends to correlate with so many different positive outcomes that there is a good chance that it is the driving force. Tony