One of the main themes of this year’s Associations World Congress was the difficulty that associations experience in attracting millennials to their membership rolls. With the baby-boom generation fading out and generation X in place, the future of associations depends on their success in attracting this largest generation to date.


Millennials don’t join, is an often-heard argument in the discussion of why associations are failing to attract the new generation of members. The fact is millennials do join, they are actually eager to, but they don’t join just because they should. They want to see clear value for their money spent and their invested time and associations are experiencing difficulty with offering those benefits in a way that is fitting and convincing.


Let’s zoom in on the first important benefit that Millennials are looking for and see how associations can offer it in a more millennial-friendly way. As mentioned in an article by Association advisor1, unlike the individualistic Generation X that precedes them, young people today are joiners and place value on collaboration and teamwork. Therefore, they are looking for a community of people with shared interests and common goals. Income, the associations who can cater to this need perfectly but do need to look beyond their current focus on annual events such as their annual congresses. Millennials demand a year-round opportunity to interact with peers on a common goal or interest and preferably one that is not limited by time or place.

Therefore, offering your members the opportunity to interact with each other on an accessible platform is a big plus in the race to the heart of millennials. Speaking to their wishes, even more, is their eagerness to advance professionally and to learn from peers and experts. Therefore, offering access to important senior members of your association in a constructive way is an absolute must. In order to avoid communication chaos, organise focused discussions, hosted by a senior board member, and let your junior members put in topic suggestions. Offering a job section in your portals is a big yes as well.


Members of the millennial generation are mobile natives, preferring and expecting the world to be available to them on their mobile devices, wherever they are.2 One great solution to provide this is our mobile Society App. This association-focussed app solution offers associations the opportunity to connect all their activities and benefits on one mobile portal. Placed on the favorite communication tool of millennials, associations can offer access to their yearly events, learning opportunities, job openings, scientific content, and to peers and professional inspirers. Through the chat function of the app, members can communicate with each other or in a group about shared interests and professional issues. You can also let key association members host in-app topical discussions about a relevant subject or create a scientific dialogue with your industry. With multiple ways for professional collaboration, the employment of our Society App can prove to be an empowering tool to increase millennial membership.

Interested in discovering more ways in which a society app can empower your organisation in engaging millennials? Contact us for a free customised demo!

1 Associations advisor, Eryn Underwood: Why Millennials Join Associations and What Associations Can Do to Keep Them
2 CSG International, The Future of the digital experience, mobile edition