Communicating the Value of your Association to Millennials

Communicating the Value of your Association to Millennials

Written by Ellie Stavropoulos, former Research Associate

With another school year finished, many young professionals are entering the workforce during these summer months. They may turn to their undergraduate and graduate networks (i.e., friends, professors, and previous employers) for referrals as they seek jobs in their prospective fields of study. A generation defined by changes in technology and various social media outlets, this group is more likely than ever before to use online job sites to find work, yet many Millennials are not aware of the value associations have to offer.

Results from our client surveys often show that young professionals are most likely to join an association as a student member when their advisor suggests it. This helps associations increase their pool of student members, but there are many Millennials unaware of the valuable offerings that associations can provide. Further, there are additional questions that come to mind—How can associations engage young professionals? How can they convince them to convert to a regular membership after entering the workforce? We’ve heard from our clients that deactivation of student emails and a propensity to move are common factors in this dilemma, but it could also be that the value of an association membership is not being clearly communicated to young professionals.

Prior to strategizing methods for increased engagement, learning the unique needs of this generation is pivotal. Since Millennials are predicted to make up a huge portion of the population (even larger than the Baby Boomers), there’s no better time to come up with a plan than now! Here are a few things that Millennials value that you can use when communicating your association’s offerings:

  • Volunteerism. They love to collaborate and desire to be heard. Millennials see value in social responsibility to “do good” and enjoy volunteering. Compared to other generations, they are most willing to respond to inclusivity and a focus on a common cause.
  • Educational offerings. This group is achievement-oriented and values formal education, training and certifications most out of any other generation. Our clients’ survey results have shown that learning certain soft skills, such as leadership development, presenting and how to network effectively, are of particular importance to the Millennial generation as they enter the workforce.
  • Mentorship. They have an affinity and respect for Traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945) and are used to getting feedback instantly. Millennials tend to network most with those their own age, so they would find value in connecting with someone with more industry experience, who can connect them with others within a broader professional network.
  • Innovation. Millennials enjoy environments that are less formal and more innovative in nature. Making things more fun, exciting and fast-paced can go a long way with this group. New and inventive communications, such as Twitter chats or video contests that target this audience and what they value will go a long way.

How have you tested these ideas in your association? Were any of them effective in engaging young professionals? Share your experiences with us!