Increasing Engagement and Attracting Students

Increasing Engagement and Attracting Students
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers logo on a blue background


The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) enjoys a high retention rate among professional members and hopes to build the association by attracting more academics and students. To achieve this, ASABE retained McKinley to explore the connections between students and academics to the Society and to devise ways to increase their participation, which would hopefully lead them to a career-long membership in the Society.

McKinley conducted research with agricultural and biological engineering faculty and students on three different university campuses to understand their motivations for ASABE involvement and to identify their professional needs. Through telephone interviews, in-person interviews and focus groups, McKinley was able to help ASABE better understand faculty and student perceptions of the Society and ways to compel them to be more engaged.


McKinley’s research identified an opportunity to raise awareness of the field and help students in their career quests, which would therefore build their appreciation and loyalty to the organization. In collaboration with ASABE, McKinley developed a plan to recruit, retain and ultimately convert students to full-fledged, professional members. The plan included strategies to build awareness of the biological engineering field and highlight ASABE’s related efforts, appropriate brand attributes for ASABE to use when communicating with faculty and students and tactics to bolster student recruitment. We also created a video to help ASABE increase awareness of the field and its importance to society, which can be seen on ASABE’s YouTube Channel.

“From the start of our collaboration with McKinley, their staff were very professional, knowledgeable and genuinely interested in the project. They took the time to learn about us and what we hoped to accomplish and maintained that interest throughout. I was highly impressed with their approach.”
Mark Crossley
Director of Membership