March 23, 2016

Engaging Millennials: Your Association's Future

Engaging Millennials: Your Association's Future

The GI Generation, Baby Boomers and Gen-X - these are some of the generations we know very well. Is your association ready for the incoming class of new members? Millennials are quickly making their way into the association space. We’ve all heard of them, but are we ready?

Millennials are the future of your organization, are you prepared for their needs?

Millennial members are very different from well-established members. Their needs differ greatly from other members and associations need to keep up with these demands in order to engage their younger members. Associations will become a dying breed if they don’t learn to adjust to the changing times. It may seem like a difficult task, but we have a few tips to help with these demands.

Why Millennials Are Different

Every generation has their specific characteristics. However, due to advanced technology, millennials are in a class of their own.

The Age of Instant Gratification

Millennials don’t just want instant gratification, they expect it. This can result in challenges for associations, as they may be complacent with outdated practices. These members are proficient in technology and expect everything to be efficient and quick. If not, they become uninterested and disengaged.

Decreased Demand for Networking

Before social media became our lifelines, associations were the primary way to network with like-minds. These days, millennials can utilize social media to connect with individuals, rather than join an association. Associations must conform to these demands if they want to continue to recruit new members. An easy way to do this is to employ a social media marketing strategy to market to younger members.

Millennials Seek Recognition

Millennials want to know that their efforts are valued and that they are appreciated. If they feel as though they are unnoticed, they may become disengaged. Associations can provide this recognition to millennials by creating programs that interest these members. By examining available data, associations can understand what engages these members and implement the proper initiatives

Flexibility Is Key

Millennials may come off as unmotivated; however, they would rather do things on their own terms. This doesn’t mean that associations need to completely change their initiatives, but rather provide more options.

Why Engagement Is Crucial

Millennials Are the Future

Members are what keep associations afloat. As older, well-established members begin to retire, younger memberships become essential. Millennials are the future of associations, and it’s important for associations to make the adjustments needed to keep them engaged.

Millennials Will Provide Feedback

Associations desperately want to know what they can do to better themselves and the member experience. Millennials don’t have an issue with telling associations how they feel. However, these members want to be able to provide this feedback efficiently and quickly. This is an advantage for associations, as members are engaged and they have the opportunity to improve their practices.

Free Advertising for Associations

It’s no secret that millennials eat, breathe, and sleep social media. When associations share content on their Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages, millennials will share this content if it applies to them. This not only results in member engagement, but also free advertising for your association.

Renewal Rates are Dependent on Millennials

Millennials are the future of your organization. In order to keep your association functioning it’s imperative to appeal to the younger generation. Renewal rates are dependent on these individuals and their interest in your mission. Increased renewal rates won’t just elevate your organization’s morale, but you will also see an increase in revenue.

How to Get Millennials Interested

As mentioned before, millennials aren’t dependent on associations for networking as others were before them. Rather, millennials can use their smartphones and instantly connect with likeminded individuals virtually. If associations want to continue to be successful, they will have to adjust their previous practices to adhere to the desires of millennials. Here’s a few ideas:

Keep it Social

Millennials are constantly observing and utilizing different social media platforms. By creating and implementing a social media marketing strategy, associations can appeal to these members. Associations should develop and share different types of content to engage members. Millennials are receptive to this form of engagement, and could share these posts to their own personal followers.

Give Them Flexibility

Millennials want to be involved, but at their own pace. These members want to be engaged and attend different events. However, it’s important for associations to offer flexibility. Associations should give members several options when it comes to attending their events.

Create a Social Community

Associations can create an online community solely for millennial members. These forums will allow members to connect with like-minds and get to know each other the best way they know how: virtually. By making this community, millennials will appreciate the efforts associations make to adhere to their lifestyle.

Millennials are the future of your organization, and it is imperative to make sure you appeal to them. This may mean that your association needs to adjust its former practices. By utilizing some of the tips listed above, millennials will feel accepted and engaged in their newfounded community.

If you want to learn more about what interests your millennial members, take a look at your data. Check out our white paper, Tracking Member Engagement, for tips on metrics to follow and what to do with them once you have them.