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Designing Successful Engagement Strategy for Younger Association Members

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Association Laboratory’s client and industry research discovered that many associations are currently structured to serve the needs of the Baby Boom Generation. Naturally, as this cohort continues to retire, member engagement value propositions will need to evolve to serve younger generations with different needs and worldviews.

This white paper is based on interviews with 35 association executives from trade and professional associations with direct responsibility for engaging the next generation of association members.

Three key areas are introduced.

  1. What are the primary challenges to engaging younger members?
  2. What are success factors that need to be built into recruitment and retention strategy?
  3. What are barriers to implementation that will need to be overcome?

While recruiting younger members may seem daunting, this audience is vital in the long term. How you and your associations respond to the challenge of engaging emerging audiences is worth serious thought. All associations need to determine how the next generation entering a profession or industry is similar or different from preceding generations and how association strategy needs to be adapted as a result.

Associations seeking to improve younger professional engagement need to invest more resources in identifying and understanding younger professionals’ needs and values and identifying how to create and implement a strategy that achieves sustained personal engagement with the association.

Since 1999, Association Laboratory has guided associations through the development of successful membership strategy and revised membership models. If the team at Association Laboratory hopes this information helps you develop successful strategy. If we can ever be of assistance, never hesitate to contact us.



Dean A West, FASAE's Profile

Dean A West, FASAE Related seminars and products


Association Laboratory

Dean West is the founder and President of Association Laboratory Inc. He leads client engagements and is a frequent speaker and facilitator for national and global association leadership meetings.

Mr. West is a former association executive with experience as executive director, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer for both national and international membership organizations. He has been a consultant to the association community since 1992, and has provided services to hundreds of state, national, and international organizations.

Dean West is a nationally recognized expert in association management. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives. Mr. West authored the chapter on Membership Research for the ASAE book, Membership Essentials and the chapter on Marketing Professional Development Programs in the ASAE book, Core Competencies in Professional Development.

Mr. West is an experienced volunteer leader familiar with the demands of volunteer leadership. He is Past Chairman of ASAE’s Professional Development Council and has served on the ASAE Membership Council and the Editorial Board for the ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership Journal of Association Leadership. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Association Forum of Chicagoland.

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