My friend Richard (who is during the day is an experienced membership body professional and outside of work he runs a very successful free network for membership body professionals called MemberWise) told me about a new membership book that has recently been published by the ‘association for associations’ in the US, ASAE.
“The End Of Membership As We Know It” is written by Sarah Sladek and basically gives a wake up call to all associations – what worked for your traditional members to date, won’t necessarily work going forward. Babyboomers (those born post World War 2) will start to be replaced as members by those in Generation X and then Y, the later two live in a different world to their Babyboomer forefathers (and mothers!) and not all membership bodies are ready for this challenge.
It isn’t just about offering an app or a QR code for your younger members (generation Z), they aren’t as loyal to membership bodies as previous generations. They are also more comfortable sharing information online, so will want true engagement from their membership body in a place where they are – eg on social networks.
The book offers a mixture of practical advice and case studies from US organisations that Sarah has worked with.
The main message to all membership body professionals is that change is happening, and you have two choices; adapt or wither. Her main advice is fairly logical, but it is good to think about it;
- look at what your members need
- change your services to adapt to these needs
- increase your marketing to promote your new services
- review and enhance your offering over time
It also offers a few practical tools, including a tool to review your benefits in light of the generational shift.
I found it an interesting read, and although American, it provided enough food for thought for the UK membership sector.
If you want to order a copy of the book, you can do so here.