As 2018 comes to a close, you’re no doubt looking for ways to revamp, refocus, and reinvigorate your membership strategy for the new year. However, finding fresh ways to recruit, engage, and retain members can be challenging, in part because members extract value from their organizations in very different ways along their career path.   

For example, early careerists are far more interested in career advancement opportunities than those nearing retirement. While networking and referral opportunities are more appealing to those in the middle and later stages of their careers, than those just starting out. Yet, navigating the intricacies of what members want and expect from their organization is possible. Here are a few ideas to get you started and ensure a successful launch of the new year.   

Members value education across all age groups and stages of their career journey. In fact, according to our 2018 Member Education and Career Development Report, continuing education opportunities rank as the number one benefit most valued by members. As you enter 2019, take the time to audit your learning program and determine what strategies you’d like to employ in the new year to help you deepen engagement and grow revenue for your organization.   

One way to do this is to segment your member base and determine if there are additional learning formats that would be valuable to them, such as live webinars, on-demand and mobile learning, just-in-time learning, and/or virtual conferences. You can also survey or poll your members to see what types of learning they’d find the most beneficial. Once you’ve determined how you’d like to proceed, be sure to leverage technology partners who can help you meet and exceed your organization’s learning goals.   

Staying on professional education for a moment, let’s talk about content. When is the last time you reviewed your content strategy? Did you know the number one reason members across all generations engage in continuing education or professional development is because of the content? While an association’s expertise in content is a significant differentiator from all the content noise, developing relevant, valuable content remains a significant challenge for associations. When reviewing your content strategy, it may help to consider the following questions:   

  • Which members are we targeting and how will it benefit them? 
  • Can members use this information to grow professionally? 
  • Are you providing relevant, just-in-time learning?  
  • Will it help members progress in their career? 
  • Are you able to effectively target members to offer learning opportunities that are right for them?  
  • Does my technology partner offer content creation services?  

As mentioned above, members are increasingly looking to their associations for career advancement, and while Millennials are clamoring the most for this benefit, it’s extremely popular among Gen Xers, as well. For example, 80 percent of Millennials and 72 percent of Gen Xers desire some form of career stage matching, based on completed continuing education from their professional organization. So the real question is, does your LMS integrate with your job board. What if your job board visitors saw not only relevant jobs, but recommended courses offered by your association that will help them become qualified for those jobs? What if upon exiting courses or receiving certifications, learners were presented with job opportunities they are now qualified for as a result of their new competencies or certifications?

In the new year, consider how your organization can improve services and offerings around member career advancement and ways in which your association can support members at every career stage.