Friday, April 1, 2011

What are the Biggest Impediments to Membership Growth?

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica at 7:33 AM
I have often wondered what are the biggest challenges for organizations in growing their membership. So this year we asked association executives in our Membership Marketing Benchmarking research to tell us. And 631 unique associations answered the question.

Then we took their answers on the biggest challenges they faced and cross tabulated them with the reported membership performance for their organizations over the past five years. Did membership increase over this time period, stay the same, or decrease.

What we wanted to know was which challenges hurt membership growth the most and which were painful, but tended not to impede growth.

Here is what we found.


The data seems to indicate that if your organization has weak product and service offerings, an insufficient budget, or a lack of marketing expertise then membership growth has been not been achieved.

And if an organization suffers from the lack of a strategy or plan, then membership has been more likely to remain static.

However, there may be hope for membership growth even if an organization is faced with insufficient staff, market saturation, an inadequate association management database, or inadequate research to understand the market they serve as the biggest challenges. Organizations reporting these problems were more likely to see membership growth over the past five years.

What might be your theories to explain these outcomes? Does this data surprise you?

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