Mgi 2013-membership-marketing-benchmarking-report

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  • If you would like to download a free copy of the 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, you can find a copy at: www.marketinggeneral.com. The 2014 has both trend data updated from previous years and all new questions.
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Mgi 2013-membership-marketing-benchmarking-report

  1. 1. www.marketinggeneral.com SURVEY CONDUCTED BY: Marketing General Incorporated UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF: Erik Schonher, MBA, CeM, Vice President Adina Wasserman, PhD, Director of Research Tony Rossell, Senior Vice President Jeff Tranguch, MA, Market Research Analyst
  2. 2. 625 North Washington Street, Suite 450 • Alexandria, Virginia 22314 703.739.1000 www.MarketingGeneral.com
  3. 3. May 2013 Dear Colleague, I am pleased to present you with the 2013 edition of Marketing General Incorporated’s Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. This is the fifth consecutive year that we have published this report and we take pride in the fact that it truly has become a benchmark document about and for the association community. Every year we add to our understanding and knowledge, making the information gained even more valuable with time. Not only are we able to track changes from year to year, we are building a growing record that readily identifies directions and trends over an even longer period. In truth, it has become what we had hoped for when we launched this project five years ago. As always, we strive to ensure that our survey questions are timely, relevant, and reflect the information our readers seek. This year, based on their suggestions, we added several questions on dues increases and probed more deeply into social media, effectiveness measurements, membership models, and the use of association management software. We think that including these findings only adds to the report’s value. As evidence of the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report’s success, MGI also authors several spin-off documents including our Competitive Set Analysis Reports, where individual associations can compare their own responses to those of like associations. If you would like more information on these reports, please contact us. In addition, we are planning several white papers based on this year’s findings. The success of the study would not be possible, of course, without the participation of hundreds of respondents who give both their time and information. This year is no different, with nearly 700 associations participating—a record number. I am especially grateful for your input. I also would like to extend my thanks to the many individuals who have requested copies of the report or downloaded it from our website, and to those who use or reference it. Special appreciation goes to our staff, particularly Erik Schonher, Tony Rossell, Dr. Adina Wasserman, Jeff Tranguch, and Rachelle Smith for developing, writing, and analyzing the data, and Aleda Ahmed, Kimberly Humphries, Bill Schaffner, and their teams, for overseeing the report’s creative and production aspects. I hope you find this year’s report of value and help as you pursue your many membership marketing endeavors. Best wishes, Richard Whelan, CDM President, Marketing General Incorporated
  4. 4. www.marketinggeneral.com 4 Executive Summary For the fifth consecutive year, Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) is proud to present our annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. This year’s study explores the membership marketing initiatives and outcomes of 695 participating associations. This research yields a broad base of strategic and tactical information including primary challenges to association growth, dues increases, effective tools for acquisition and retention, common uses for social media, and more. The next phase of analysis will be a series of “Drill- Down” reports to be published later in 2013 that will provide greater understanding of the membership marketing strategies and tactics of the reporting associations based on: 1. Association Type — Individual, Trade, and Both 2. Membership Strategies and Tactics of Individual Membership Associations with an 80%+ Renewal Rate 3. Membership Strategies and Tactics of Individual Membership Associations by Number of Members 4. Membership Strategies and Tactics by Select Industry Objective The purpose of this study continues to be the development of meaningful benchmarks by which the leadership of individual membership and trade associations can evaluate their own membership marketing strategies and tactics. Findings Good news! Over 52% of the 690+ associations participating in this study report a growth in membership, versus only 31% reporting a decline in their membership. And the reported growth is vigorous, with nearly 24% of associations reporting a gain in membership of 6% or more. This is the second year in a row that the majority of participants report membership growth and continues the positive trend from the low point of only 36% reported in 2010. Further analysis of the data by market served indicates that 64% of healthcare associations showed considerable growth in membership over the past year. Additionally, by number of members and size of budget, associations with 20,000 or more members and those reporting an operating budget in excess of $1 million report the highest levels of growth over the past year. From this year's survey, the major indicators of membership health — overall total membership, new members acquired, and membership renewals — have increased for the majority of associations. Growth in new members has increased from the previous study, while overall membership growth and membership renewals remain on par with findings from 2012. Similar to trends in overall membership growth, associations continue to see an increase in new member acquisition since the low of 2010. Of the responding association executives, 63% report an increase in the acquisition of new members over the past year. These results come on top of a strong 2012 when 60% of respondents said that they had an increase in new members. CHANGE IN MEMBERSHIP OVER PAST ONE YEAR—COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 689) 2011 (n = 642) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 331) Percentage Increased Overall 52% 52% 49% 36% 45% Percentage Unchanged Overall 16% 16% 16% 14% 16% Percentage Declined Overall 31% 29% 34% 48% 35% Percentage Unsure 1% 3% 2% 3% 5%
  5. 5. www.marketinggeneral.com 5 CHANGE IN NEW MEMBER ACQUISITION OVER PAST YEAR — COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 687) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 325) Percentage Increased Overall 63% 60% 57% 42% 49% Percentage Unchanged Overall 17% 17% 21% 20% 22% Percentage Declined Overall 16% 15% 16% 26% 21% Percentage Unsure 4% 10% 8% 12% 10% CHANGE IN RENEWAL RATE OVER PAST YEAR — COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 683) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 403) 2009 (n = 326) Percentage Increased Overall 35% 36% 32% 21% 22% Percentage Unchanged Overall 30% 33% 37% 27% 39% Percentage Declined Overall 31% 22% 24% 44% 31% Percentage Unsure 4% 10% 7% 8% 9% Compared to the previous studies, a higher percentage of associations are reporting increases in membership renewals. The majority of associations (68%) have renewal rates that are at 80% or higher. Only 32% of associations report renewal rates below 80%. The mean renewal rate for participating associations is about 81%. In summary, the continued increases in each of these three key membership statistics — overall growth, member acquisition, member renewal — speaks to the continued strengthening and improvement in the health and performance of membership associations. TOP CHALLENGES TO GROWING MEMBERSHIP BY MEMBERSHIP TYPE Challenge Individual Member (n = 332) Trade (n = 206) Both (n = 136) Insufficient staff Membership too diverse Perception of the association Insufficient budget Difficulty attracting/maintaining young members For the second year in a row, we asked association executives to tell us what they perceived as the biggest impediments to membership growth, and their top goals for membership in their organization. As was the case in 2012, the top three challenges to growing membership remain “insufficient staff,” “difficulty attracting and/or maintaining younger members,” and “perception of the association and/or its culture.” It is interesting to note that while in 2012 “membership too diverse” was considered the biggest issue, this year it fell out of the top three to fourth place. Additional Findings
  6. 6. www.marketinggeneral.com 6 An equal percentage of responding associations (74%) indicate that “increasing member engagement” and “increasing both membership acquisition and retention” are the top two membership goals. Trade associations are significantly more likely than individual membership associations to set a goal to increase member engagement (83% vs. 71%). 74% 74% 38% 33% 28% 21% 16% 9% 2% Increasing member engagement Increasing both membership acquisition and retention Increase understanding of member needs Increasing non-dues revenue from members Increasing dues revenue Increasing membership retention Increasing membership acquisition Increasing member diversity Other 2013 (n = 690) Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (public access) are the three most common social media sites used by associations for the past four years. Individual membership associations are significantly more likely than trade associations to use Facebook (89% vs. 79%) and association listservs (30% vs. 18%). Twitter tends to be used over Facebook to promote or discuss specific sessions at events. Facebook is used more often than Twitter for soliciting new members and promoting membership. With the growing use of social media, we included new questions this year on how it is managed within associations. As indicated above, the majority of associations report that the communications department is responsible for their social media sites. Of interest is the fact that 4% indicate they have a separate social media department that manages this channel. 52% 44% 31% 8% 7% 6% 4% 12% Communications Marketing Membership IT Education Advocacy and policy Social media Other 2013 (n = 657)
  7. 7. www.marketinggeneral.com 7 To no surprise, the primary reasons association executives give as to why members join associations continues to be networking (24%), access to specialized/current information (13%), and advocacy (8%). This year “learning best practices in their profession” (8%) ranks among the top three reasons. While still among the top three, findings show a continued downward trend in the number of associations reporting advocacy as a membership driver, dropping from 12% in 2012 to 8% currently. Similar to findings in 2012, the top three reasons cited for not renewing are: 1. Budget cuts/economic hardship of the company (18%). 2. Lack of engagement with the organization (15%). 3. Unable to justify membership costs with any significant ROI (11%). Member engagement has long been recognized as a key factor for influencing renewals. The top three communication methods used to onboard new members continues to include: 1. Email welcome kit (79%). 2. Mailed welcome (60%). 3. Membership card or certificate (51%). Data indicate that associations are increasing the number of renewal contacts included in their renewal series. A majority of associations report 4 to 6 renewal contacts within their renewal series (38%), with about 27% making 7 to 12 renewal contacts. Results indicate that while there is a slight drop in the percentage of associations using between 4 and 9 renewal contacts compared to 2012, there is a slight increase in the number of associations contacting members 10 to 15 times in their renewal series (14% vs. 10%). RENEWAL RATES BY NUMBER OF RENEWAL CONTACTS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATIONS (n = 289) 1 to 6 contacts 7 or more contacts Less than 80% renewal 43% 33% 80% or higher renewal 57% 67% Individual member associations using 7 or more contacts in their renewal series are more likely to report overall membership renewal rates at 80% or higher. Similar to previous years, we asked association executives to report how much they spend annually on membership marketing programs. In comparison to last year's report, there are substantial increases in spending on programs promoting awareness and branding (66%), engagement/onboarding (56%), and reinstatement (33%). Associations with renewal rates at or above 80% spend more on awareness and branding, and renewals, while associations with renewals under 80% spend more on recruitment and reinstatement. Associations tend to spend similar amounts on engagement/onboarding. For the second year in a row, we asked respondents to answer five open-ended questions: 1. What are some of the most effective tools you’ve used or programs you’ve offered to increase membership engagement with your association? 2. If you could freely say anything to your members, what would you say? 3. With regard to your association, what keeps you up at night? 4. If there was one hurdle you could remove to make your association run smoother, what would it be? 5. In your own words, what are the most important or successful lessons you have learned in the area of membership marketing? Of the total responses received, we’ve noted some of the more interesting for your review at the end of this report. The full list of responses can be downloaded from our website at www.MarketingGeneral.com.
  8. 8. www.marketinggeneral.com 8 Report Background This is the fifth year that Marketing General Incorporated has surveyed associations to better understand the strategies and tactics they use to acquire and engage new members, renew and retain existing members, and reinstate memberships that have lapsed. This report not only provides the basic information on membership practices, but cross-tabulates them with membership results associations are experiencing to provide best practices information. The comparison of practices and outcomes in membership provides strong directional guidance on what tactics and strategies might be added or dropped to help improve a membership program. There is an important disclaimer that readers should be aware of as they evaluate this report. Because an activity or practice has a statistical correlation with a growing or declining membership or better renewal rates, we are not claiming that any one behavior in and of itself causes this outcome. There are literally thousands of variables that impact membership results. Nevertheless, if as a marketer one sees that organizations with certain behaviors or practices tend to be doing better, one at least will want to explore the issue and determine if there is something that can be applied to one's own organization. The report includes dozens of key findings that can provide insight and direction for membership marketing programs. We hope that you find it of help as you seek to maximize membership results for your organization. If you have questions or need assistance with your membership marketing, the team at Marketing General Incorporated is pleased to be of help. Our website is: www.MarketingGeneral.com. Please find our individual contact information on the back panel of this report.
  9. 9. www.marketinggeneral.com 9 Introduction Survey Objective Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) presents the fifth annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, an independent study of the most common practices associations use to recruit new members, retain current ones, and reinstate those who have lapsed. Data was gathered in early 2013 and run against benchmarking statistics from the past four years to detect trends and then analyze them. MGI makes the annual benchmarking report freely available in print and online for the benefit of the greater association community. We update and hope to improve the report every year. We evaluate the utility of each survey question, remove less important ones, and add new ones so the analysis will be fully relevant. This year we removed, but then by request added back, several questions on dues increases. We also probed more deeply into social media, effectiveness measurements, membership models, and use of association management software. We also asked for new ideas from subscribers to MGI's monthly Tipster electronic newsletter. We received nearly one hundred responses and included several suggestions in this year’s survey. Methodology The 2013 survey was conducted online from January 8 to February 20. A total of 7,857 invitations were sent to association executives who are Tipster subscribers, had downloaded last year’s report, or appeared on a third party list of association executives. 751 association professionals responded, but we accepted just one responder per association, selecting the one whose responsibilities were closest to membership marketing. Responses were not used when an association name was not provided. Overall, 56 respondents had to be dropped from the analysis. The final data set contains information from 695 different associations. 670 association professionals completed the survey online and 81 used a link from the MGI blog or asked to be included. The final count was 751 completed surveys, a response rate of approximately 10%. The margin of error is +/- 3.7%. The margin of error is a statistical measurement to assess the accuracy of data compared to the larger universe of all possible respondents. Since it is impossible to survey all respondents, statisticians rely on a random sample to estimate the results of the entire population. The margin of error accounts for random fluctuations inherent in any sample. The smaller the margin of error, the more accurate the measurement of the entire universe will be. This study’s .05 significance interval carries a 95% confidence level, so that were this study conducted 100 times, the same results, plus or minus the margin of error, would occur 95 times out of 100. Report Layout This year’s report consists of nine sections: • Section 1: Association Statistics • Section 2: Awareness and Recruitment (Acquisition) • Section 3: Engagement, Renewal, Reinstatement (Retention) • Section 4: Social Media • Section 5: Challenges and Goals • Section 6: Dues and Membership Structure • Section 7: Managing Your Association • Section 8: The Demographics of Your Association • Section 9: Words of Wisdom
  10. 10. www.marketinggeneral.com 10 Association Statistics This section provides information on the overall membership statistics of participating associations. What was the percentage change in your entire membership over the past ONE YEAR period? CHANGE IN MEMBERSHIP OVER PAST ONE YEAR 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 689) 2011 (n = 642) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 331) Increased more than 50% 1% 1% 1% 1% -- Increased 26% to 50% 1% 3% 2% 2% 1% Increased 11% to 25% 7% 8% 9% 5% 7% Increased 6% to 10% 15% 13% 11% 7% 10% Increased 1% to 5% 28% 27% 26% 21% 27% Remained the same 16% 16% 16% 14% 16% Declined 1% to 5% 19% 19% 19% 26% 19% Declined 6% to 10% 8% 7% 11% 13% 9% Declined 11% to 25% 3% 2% 4% 8% 6% Declined 26% to 50% 1% 1% -- 1% 1% Declined more than 50% -- 1% -- -- -- Not sure 1% 3% 2% 3% 5% A majority of respondents report that their membership has increased by 1 to 5% over the past year (28%), a continued upward trend for this percentage growth bracket starting in 2011. More than half of the participating associations report increases in overall membership over the past year (52%), with slightly more respondents reporting increases of 6 to 10% in membership. This represents a steady rise in membership by 6 to 10% since 2011. Holding steady since 2011, 16% indicate there is no discernible change in their membership over the past year, and 19% report losses of up to 5% in membership. As mentioned, 52% of associations report increases in overall membership over the past year, similar to findings from 2012; while 31% reported a decline. Associations showing increases in the past year are significantly more likely to report overall increases over the past five years, as well as increases in new members and renewals. CHANGE IN MEMBERSHIP OVER PAST ONE YEAR—COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 689) 2011 (n = 642) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 331) Percentage Increased Overall 52% 52% 49% 36% 45% Percentage Unchanged Overall 16% 16% 16% 14% 16% Percentage Declined Overall 31% 29% 34% 48% 35% Percentage Unsure 1% 3% 2% 3% 5% SECTION 1
  11. 11. www.marketinggeneral.com 11 CHANGE IN MEMBERSHIP OVER PAST FIVE YEARS — COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 689) 2011 (n = 639) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 332) Percentage Increased Overall 54% 52% 51% 57% 60% Percentage Unchanged Overall 7% 9% 9% 8% 8% Percentage Declined Overall 36% 34% 38% 30% 27% Percentage Unsure 2% 5% 4% 5% 5% Over the past FIVE YEARS, what do you estimate has been the total percentage change in your membership? CHANGE IN MEMBERSHIP OVER PAST FIVE YEARS 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 686) 2011 (n = 639) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 332) Increased more than 50% 4% 6% 6% 7% 3% Increased 26% to 50% 8% 8% 7% 7% 7% Increased 11% to 25% 14% 14% 13% 17% 16% Increased 6% to 10% 13% 12% 13% 14% 18% Increased 1% to 5% 15% 12% 12% 13% 16% Remained the same 7% 9% 9% 8% 8% Declined 1% to 5% 14% 12% 12% 11% 7% Declined 6% to 10% 8% 9% 11% 8% 9% Declined 11% to 25% 11% 9% 11% 8% 9% Declined 26% to 50% 2% 3% 3% 2% 2% Declined more than 50% 1% 1% 1% 1% -- Not sure 2% 5% 4% 5% 5% There is a slight uptick in the percentage of associations reporting increases of up to 10% in overall membership over the past five years. There is also an increase in the percentage of associations reporting declines in membership of up to 5% and between 11 and 25%. Associations with operating budgets over $1 million are significantly more likely to report membership increases over the past year compared to associations with smaller operating budgets. Associations reporting less than 60% renewals for first-year members are significantly more likely to report declines in overall membership during the past year, suggesting problems retaining new members may be a substantial source of overall membership decline. Associations with 20,000 or more members reported the highest levels of growth over the past year with 60% showing an increase in membership. Only 50% of associations with less than 1,000 members reported an increase in membership. Associations in healthcare reported the highest levels of growth over the past year with 63% showing an increase in membership followed by Finance/Accounting/Banking/Insurance with 60% reporting an increase in membership. Associations in Education, Professional Services (blue collar), and Construction reported some of the lowest levels of growth over the past year at 43%, 42%, and 31%, respectively. Associations with an 80% renewal rate or higher are more likely to report increases in membership over the past five years, as are those with increases in membership over the past year, increases in new members, and increases in renewals. More than half of associations reporting less than 60% retention of first-year members also report declines in membership over the past five years (54%), suggesting that their membership decline may be related to poor retention of first-year members.
  12. 12. www.marketinggeneral.com 12 In the past year, what was the percentage change in your NEW member acquisition? CHANGE IN NEW MEMBER ACQUISITION OVER PAST YEAR 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 687) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 402) 2009 (n = 325) Increased more than 50% 3% 5% 2% 2% 1% Increased 26% to 50% 4% 4% 5% 2% 4% Increased 11% to 25% 11% 11% 11% 10% 7% Increased 6% to 10% 17% 16% 14% 9% 12% Increased 1% to 5% 28% 25% 25% 20% 25% Remained the same 17% 17% 21% 20% 22% Declined 1% to 5% 8% 8% 9% 10% 10% Declined 6% to 10% 4% 3% 3% 6% 5% Declined 11% to 25% 3% 2% 3% 7% 3% Declined 26% to 50% 1% 1% 1% 3% 2% Declined more than 50% -- 1% -- 1% 1% Not sure 4% 10% 8% 12% 10% Over the past year, new member acquisition has increased, with most associations reporting an average of 1 to 5% growth in new members. There are only slight variations in the percentage of associations reporting declines in membership of any degree compared to 2012 and 2011 results. CHANGE IN NEW MEMBER ACQUISITION OVER PAST YEAR — COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 687) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 325) Percentage Increased Overall 63% 60% 57% 42% 49% Percentage Unchanged Overall 17% 17% 21% 20% 22% Percentage Declined Overall 16% 15% 16% 26% 21% Percentage Unsure 4% 10% 8% 12% 10% Overall, a greater percentage of associations are reporting increases in new member acquisition, a continued growth trend since 2011. Overall, the percentage of associations indicating new member acquisition has declined has remained steady since 2011. Associations reporting increases in new member acquisition are significantly more likely to also report increases in overall new members over the past year, and over the past five years, as well as increases in renewals. Associations with more than 20,000 paid members are significantly more likely to report increases in new members, compared to associations with fewer members.
  13. 13. www.marketinggeneral.com 13 CHANGE IN RENEWAL RATE OVER PAST YEAR — COMPRESSED 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 683) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 403) 2009 (n = 326) Percentage Increased Overall 35% 36% 32% 21% 22% Percentage Unchanged Overall 30% 33% 37% 27% 39% Percentage Declined Overall 31% 22% 24% 44% 31% Percentage Unsure 4% 10% 7% 8% 9% CHANGE IN RENEWAL RATE OVER PAST YEAR 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 683) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 403) 2009 (n = 326) Increased more than 50% 1% 1% -- 1% -- Increased 26% to 50% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% Increased 11% to 25% 2% 4% 3% 1% 2% Increased 6% to 10% 8% 6% 7% 5% 4% Increased 1% to 5% 23% 23% 21% 14% 15% Remained the same 30% 33% 37% 27% 39% Declined 1% to 5% 22% 16% 17% 29% 18% Declined 6% to 10% 6% 5% 5% 10% 9% Declined 11% to 25% 2% 2% 2% 5% 3% Declined 26% to 50% 1% 1% -- 1% 1% Declined more than 50% -- -- -- -- -- Not sure 4% 10% 7% 8% 9% Compared to the previous studies, a higher percentage of associations are reporting increases in renewals of between 6 and 10%. Almost one-quarter of associations (22%) report that their renewal rate has declined by 1 to 5%, a substantial increase over findings from 2012 and 2011. Associations reporting increases in overall membership over the past year and the past five years, as well as increases in new members, are significantly more likely to show increases in renewal rates over the past year. OVERALL MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL RATE 2013* (n = 607) 2012 (n = 685) 2011 (n = 643) 2010 (n = 403) 2009 (n =337) Under 50% 3% 3% 3% 3% 2% 50% to 59% 2% 4% 6% 4% 4% 60% to 69% 8% 7% 10% 11% 7% 70% to 79% 19% 22% 23% 21% 16% 80% to 89% 38% 38% 34% 40% 37% 90% or higher 30% 22% 23% 18% 29% Not sure** N/A 3% 2% 3% 4% What is your overall membership renewal rate? *2013 version of the study allowed for an open-ended response and not a choice of categories. **Not sure was not included as an option in 2013. The majority of associations (68%) have renewal rates that are at 80% or higher. Only 32% of associations report renewal rates below 80%. The mean renewal rate for participating associations is about 81%. In the past year, what was the percentage change in your member RENEWAL rate?
  14. 14. www.marketinggeneral.com 14 Associations reporting increases in overall membership over the past year and the past five years, plus increases in new members and in renewals, are significantly more likely to report an overall membership renewal rate at or above 90%. Trade associations are also significantly more likely to report renewal rates at or above 90%. Interestingly, associations with new member renewals above 60% are also significantly more likely to indicate their overall renewal rate is above 90%. MEAN MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL RATE Less than 80% renewal 80% renewal or higher Individual Member Trade Both Mean 66% 88% 79% 87% 76% Median 70% 88% 81% 88% 80% On average, associations reporting renewal rates below 80% have renewal rates at around 66%, while those reporting renewal rates above 80% have renewal rates that are at 88%. Trade associations tend to have a higher mean renewal rate (87%) compared to individual member organizations (79%) or those with both types of members (76%). What is your renewal rate for first-year members? OVERALL NEW MEMBER RENEWAL RATE 2013* (n = 607) 2012 (n = 685) Under 50% 18% 10% 50% to 59% 14% 13% 60% to 69% 11% 12% 70% to 79% 21% 19% 80% to 89% 15% 17% 90% or higher 22% 12% Not sure** N/A 18% *2013 version of the study allowed for an open-ended response and not a choice of categories. **Not sure was not included as an option in 2013. Compared to last year's findings, there is a significantly greater percentage of associations on either end of the spectrum. 18% report new member renewals under 50%. Another 22% report new member renewals at 90% or higher. The mean renewal rate for new members is about 68%. MEAN NEW MEMBER RENEWAL RATE Less than 80% renewal 80% renewal or higher Individual Member Trade Both Mean 51% 76% 64% 78% 61% Median 50% 77% 70% 80% 65% Associations with overall renewal rates at or above 80% have, on average, new member renewal rates that are at about 76%, compared to only 51% for associations with overall renewal rates below 80%.
  15. 15. www.marketinggeneral.com 15 What do you estimate is the percentage of your current market penetration? CURRENT MARKET PENETRATION 2013* (n = 411) 2012 (n = 688) 2011 (n = 636) 2010 (n = 401) 2009 (n =326) Up to 20% of available market 29% 27% 31% 28% 25% 21% to 40% of available market 23% 22% 20% 22% 14% 41% to 60% of available market 18% 18% 15% 18% 15% 61% to 80% of available market 15% 11% 10% 12% 25% More than 80% of available market 14% 6% 7% 4% 8% Not sure** N/A 17% 16% 16% 12% *2013 version of the study allowed for an open-ended response and not a choice of categories. **Not sure was not included as an option in 2013. Compared to the previous benchmarking studies, a significantly higher percentage of associations report that their market penetration is more than 80% of the available market (14%). The mean market penetration for participating associations is about 41%. Similarly, there is a continuing upward trend from 2011 in the percentage of associations reporting their market penetration at 61 to 80% of the available market. However, results also indicate that nearly 3 in 10 associations have 20% or less market penetration in their respective industry and only about one-quarter have a market penetration between 21 to 40%. Associations with overall renewal rates above 80% are significantly more likely to report market penetration at or above 60%. Results also show that as new member renewals increase, so does the percent of market penetration for an association. CURRENT MARKET PENETRATION BY ASSOCIATION TYPE Individual Member (n = 195) Trade (n = 135) Both (n = 74) Up to 20% of available market 29% 29% 31% 21% to 40% of available market 21% 26% 23% 41% to 60% of available market 20% 13% 20% 61% to 80% of available market 14% 16% 16% More than 80% of available market 15% 16% 10% The mean market penetration for both individual member associations and trade organizations is about 42%, while the mean market penetration for hybrid associations is about 37%. A greater percentage of trade associations have a market penetration above 60% compared to individual member associations or combination associations.
  16. 16. www.marketinggeneral.com 16 Awareness and Recruitment (Acquisition) How do members initially discover your association? (Check all that apply.) The first step in getting members to join any association is increasing awareness among prospective members. Once prospects are aware that an association exists, the next step is recruiting that prospect to join. This section contains information on the most and least effective methods for generating awareness and recruiting members. HOW MEMBERS INITIALLY DISCOVER YOUR ASSOCIATION 2013 (n = 690) Word-of-mouth recommendation 86% Association website 80% Email 66% Promotion to/at your own conferences/conventions 55% Association-sponsored social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn) 54% Local events/meetings 52% Association-sponsored events 48% Cross-sell to non-members who buy your products or attend your conferences 47% Direct mail 44% Search engines (organic) 42% Exhibiting at other conferences 41% Advertising in your own publications 36% Chapters 36% Public relations 30% Advertising in outside publications 25% Personal sales calls 23% Job board 21% Accreditation promotion 15% Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) 12% Telemarketing 9% Paid banners on other websites 9% QR codes 8% Mobile apps 7% Radio or TV 4% Texting 1% Do not know 1% Other 9% SECTION 2 Association executives indicate that most members discover their association through word-of-mouth recommendations (86%), the association website (80%), and email (66%). Compared to associations reporting declines in overall membership over the past year, associations reporting increases are significantly more likely to indicate members become aware of their association through their website (85% vs. 77%), through cross-selling to non-members who have been to association events (52% vs. 39%), and their job board (17% vs. 11%). Associations with renewal rates at or above 80% are also significantly more likely to employ personal sales calls (26% vs. 18%) compared to those with renewal rates below 80%. Individual and combination associations are more likely than trade associations to use job boards, accreditation promotion, or advertise in their own publications. Conversely, trade associations are significantly more likely to use sales calls.
  17. 17. www.marketinggeneral.com 17 HOW MEMBERS INITIALLY DISCOVER YOUR ASSOCIATION BY MEMBERSHIP TYPE Individual Member (n = 331) Trade (n = 209) Both (n = 136) Word-of-mouth recommendation 85% 57% 85% Association website 81% 79% 80% Email 67% 68% 59% Promotion to/at your own conferences/conventions 54% 57% 54% Association-sponsored social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn) 57% 49% 54% Local events/meetings 53% 49% 54% Association-sponsored events 47% 54% 43% Cross-sell to non-members who buy your products or attend your conferences 46% 44% 53% Direct mail 47% 43% 37% Search engines (organic) 43% 40% 43% Exhibiting at other conferences 42% 41% 43% Advertising in your own publications 38% 30% 38% Chapters 50% 18% 32% Public relations 26% 34% 35% Advertising in outside publications 27% 21% 22% Personal sales calls 10% 44% 21% Job board 26% 11% 27% Accreditation promotion 16% 11% 20% Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) 14% 9% 14% Telemarketing 9% 12% 7% Paid banners on other websites 12% 4% 10% QR codes 8% 8% 11% Mobile apps 7% 9% 6% Radio or TV 4% 3% 5% Texting 1% 1% 2% Do not know 1% -- 1% Other 9% 10% 9% How do you create/maintain brand awareness of your organization? (Check all that apply.) METHODS FOR CREATING AND MAINTAINING ASSOCIATION AWARENESS 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 683) 2011 (n = 638) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 599) Association website 86% 92% 87% 88% 85% Email 81% 94% 71% 67% 61% Word-of-mouth recommendations 79% 83% 90% 91% 77% Association-sponsored social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn) 74% 71% 51% 56% 35% Promotion to/at your own conferences/ conventions 69% 79% 65% 66% 65% Association-sponsored events 59% 68% 57% 56% 37% Advertising in your own publications 56% 72% 48% 56% 51% Direct mail 56% 69% 62% 66% 76% Local events/meetings 53% 60% 53% N/A N/A Exhibiting at other conferences 49% 61% 50% 51% 53% Cross-sell to non-members who buy your products or attend your conferences 48% 61% 56% 59% 52% Public relations 48% 61% 40% 39% 29% Search engines (organic) 40% 48% 45% 47% 34% Chapters 40% 42% 38% 46% 39% Advertising in outside publications 32% 47% 31% 31% 28% Job board 30% 39% 24% 23% 23% Personal sales calls 24% 32% 25% 22% 24% Accreditation promotion 20% 24% 18% 20% 14% Mobile apps 15% 20% N/A N/A N/A Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) 14% 20% 14% 20% 8% QR codes 13% 30% N/A N/A N/A Telemarketing 12% 22% 16% 18% 18% Paid banners on other websites 12% 21% 12% 13% 12% Radio or TV 8% 15% 7% 5% 7% Texting 2% 6% N/A N/A N/A Other 3% 3% 4% 3% 3% Do not know 1% 1% 0% 0% 1% Blue: Increase from previous year. Top three methods for creating brand awareness.
  18. 18. www.marketinggeneral.com 18 Similar to findings from the past four years, the methods most associations use for creating awareness of their organization include the association’s website (86%), email (81%), and/or word-of-mouth recommendations (79%). Interestingly, the only method for creating awareness that shows continued growth is the use of association-sponsored social networking sites, indicating a greater use of this medium for generating and maintaining awareness of the organization. All other methods of creating awareness seem to have declined in use. Compared to associations showing a decline in new members, those reporting increases are significantly more likely to indicate they use association- sponsored events, advertising in outside publications, and accreditation promotion to create and maintain brand awareness of their organization. Associations reporting increases in overall membership over the past year report using association-sponsored events, exhibiting at other conferences/conventions, cross-selling to non- members who have purchased products or attended events, search engines (organic and pay-per-click), and promotion of accreditation programs. Associations with new member renewal rates at or above 80% are significantly more likely to utilize email and word-of-mouth recommendations to create and/or maintain awareness of their association. Individual member associations are significantly more likely than trade associations to use association- sponsored social media outlets, advertisements in their own publications, chapter contact, job boards, accreditation promotion, mobile apps, and paid banners. Trade and combination associations, however, are more likely to engage in personal sales calls compared to individual member organizations. What are the TOP THREE most effective and least effective membership recruitment marketing channels you have used? EFFECTIVENESS OF MEMBERSHIP RECRUITMENT MARKETING CHANNELS Marketing Channel Most Effective Least Effective 2013 (n = 685) 2012 (n = 685) 2013 (n = 609) 2012 (n = 630) Word-of-mouth recommendations 58% 54% 1% 3% Association website 33% 34% 7% 7% Email 31% 37% 9% 11% Direct mail 24% 30% 24% 24% Cross-sell to non-members who buy your products or attend your conferences 18% 20% 5% 7% Promotion to/at your own conferences/conventions 18% 16% 11% 9% Personal sales calls 16% 17% 7% 7% Chapters 16% 14% 6% 8% Local events/meetings 14% 10% 7% 5% Association-sponsored events 13% 16% 4% 4% Exhibiting at other conferences 9% 10% 22% 28% Promotional incentives 9% 8% 14% 16% Association-sponsored social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn) 7% 5% 18% 18% Accreditation promotion 5% 4% 5% 4% Search engines (organic) 5% 2% 8% 8% Public relations 4% 5% 8% 11% Telemarketing 4% 4% 17% 13% Advertising in your own publications 3% 3% 16% 17% Advertising in outside publications 3% 2% 22% 25% Search engines (paid or pay-per-click) 1% 1% 9% 10% Job board 1% 1% 10% 13% Radio or TV 1% 1% 13% 11% Paid banners on other websites 1% -- 14% 14% Mobile apps 1% N/A 6% N/A Texting -- -- 8% 5% QR codes -- NA 16% N/A Other 3% 3% 1% 3% Blue: Increase from previous year. Top three most/least effective membership recruitment channels.
  19. 19. www.marketinggeneral.com 19 TOP THREE MOST EFFECTIVE AND LEAST EFFECTIVE MARKETING CHANNELS BY ASSOCIATION TYPE Individual Member 2013 2012 Most Effective Word-of-mouth recommendations 60% 51% Email 35% 39% Association website 34% ** Least Effective Exhibiting at other conferences 27% 31% Direct mail 23% 20% Advertising in outside publications 22% 23% Trade 2013 2012 Most Effective Word-of-mouth recommendations 60% 56% Personal sales calls 32% 37% Association website 30% ** Least Effective Direct mail 26% 34% Advertising in outside publications 23% 28% Exhibiting at other conferences 20% 22% Both 2013 2012 Most Effective Word-of-mouth recommendations 51% 61% Association website 36% 31% Email 33% 40% Least Effective Direct mail 21% 22% Advertising in outside publications 19% 25% Exhibiting at other conferences 18% 30% **Not one of the top three in 2012. Blue: Increase from previous year. Individual member, trade, and combination associations all consider word-of-mouth recommendations to be the most effective recruitment marketing channels. A higher proportion of association executives for individual member and trade associations indicate that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective channels. Additionally, the association website is also rated as one of the most effective recruitment vehicles by individual member, trade, and combination associations. In the 2012 research, the association website was not among the top three listed as most effective for recruitment marketing, suggesting that association executives now see their websites as strong marketing tools. Channels considered least effective by individual, trade, and combination associations include exhibiting at other conferences, advertising in outside publications, and direct mail. In most cases, the percentage of respondents indicating these as their least effective channels has declined since 2012. Similar to the previous year, the most effective recruitment channels include word-of-mouth recommendations, the association’s website, and email. However, the percentage of respondents reporting email as the most effective recruitment tool has declined since last year. The percentage of respondents that report word-of- mouth recommendations as the most effective form of recruitment has increased since 2012. Other recruitment channels that have increased in perceived effectiveness include promotion to/at your own conferences, chapter involvement, local events/meetings, association-sponsored social networking sites, and search engines (organic). Associations reporting declines in renewal rates overall are more likely to engage chapters in their recruitment efforts compared to associations reporting increases in renewals. Telemarketing and texting are seen by more respondents as ineffective recruitment methods compared to the previous research. Associations with 20,000 or more members cite direct mail as the most effective membership recruitment channel.
  20. 20. www.marketinggeneral.com 20 What do you believe is the ONE TOP reason members JOIN your organization? REASONS MEMBERS JOIN ASSOCIATIONS 2013 (n = 693) 2012 (n = 684) 2011 (n = 641) 2010 (n = 400) 2009 (n = 303) Networking with others in the field 24% 22% 25% 24% 22% Access to specialized and/or current information 13% 12% 14% 13% 23% Advocacy 8% 12% 10% 11% N/A Learning best practices in their profession 8% 7% 7% 9% 8% Continuing education 7% 8% 7% 11% 5% Conferences/trade shows 6% 4% 5% N/A N/A Accreditation or certification 4% 5% 4% 4% 2% Discounts on products or meeting purchases 4% 5% 5% 6% 9% Association publications 4% 4% 3% 6% 3% Prestige of belonging to the association 4% 4% 5% N/A N/A Access to industry thought leaders 2% 2% 1% N/A N/A Advancing in their position 2% 2% 2% 2% 4% Members-only education 2% 2% N/A N/A N/A Access to career resources 1% 1% 1% 3% 1% Access to industry benchmark studies 1% 1% 1% 1% N/A Insurance (Affinity programs) 1% 1% 1% N/A N/A Not sure 1% 1% 1% 2% N/A Other 7% 6% 8% 9% 10% Blue: Top membership driver. Top three reasons members join. Similar to findings since 2009, association executives believe that members are most likely to join their organization to network with others and to have access to specialized and/or current information. Additionally, association professionals also believe members join to support the advocacy conducted on behalf of their organization, although the percentage of respondents indicating advocacy as a membership driver has declined. Now, learning best practices in their profession is on par with advocacy as a membership driver. Trade association executives are significantly more likely to indicate that networking is a top membership driver compared to association professionals from individual member organizations (32% vs. 19%), and twice as likely to report that advocacy is a membership driver (12% vs. 7%). Networking and conferences are significantly more likely to be membership drivers for smaller associations (up to 5,000 members), while publications and accreditation are significantly more important membership drivers for associations with more than 5,000 members. Networking is also a significantly stronger membership driver for associations with operating budgets up to $5 million, compared to those with larger operating budgets. While networking is most often considered the top membership driver across association industries, continuing education is the strongest membership driver for healthcare associations, and learning best practices is most important for members in the education profession. Publications are the leading membership driver for hobby/enthusiast associations, and conferences and trade shows are the strongest membership driver for retail/consumer product associations.
  21. 21. www.marketinggeneral.com 21 Engagement, Renewal, Reinstatement (Retention) After successfully acquiring new members, associations must work hard to retain their membership. Member engagement programs will help increase renewal rates, and in some cases can assist in reinstating lapsed members. This section contains information on the most common strategies used to help onboard, engage, and reinstate members. Which of the following communication methods do you use to help onboard or engage new members in the association? (Check all that apply.) COMMUNICATION METHODS USED TO ONBOARD NEW MEMBERS 2013 (n = 693) 2012 (n = 685) 2011 (n = 643) 2010 (n = 402) 2009 (n = 337) Email welcome 79% 72% 71% 72% 62% Mailed welcome kit 60% 64% 67% 68% 83% Membership card or certificate 51% 51% 51% 59% 58% Volunteer or staff welcome phone call 31% 29% 30% 32% 26% New member introductory email series 28% 25% 25% 27% 14% Special discounts on purchases 23% 24% 23% 23% 17% Invite to chapter meeting 23% 22% 18% 25% 23% In-person new member reception or orientation 21% 25% 23% 20% 19% New member newsletter (print or electronic) 16% 16% 15% 20% 11% New member survey 15% 16% 17% 18% 20% New member gift (e.g., gift card, calendar, notepad) 12% 12% 11% -- -- New member webinars 10% 9% N/A N/A N/A Custom new member renewal series 9% 10% 10% 11% 7% Telemarketing welcome phone call 9% 10% 12% 10% 4% Early or “at-birth” renewal 4% 4% 5% 4% 2% No special communication 3% 3% 2% 2% 2% Other 5% 3% 5% 5% 8% Blue: Top onboarding communication method. Top three onboarding methods. SECTION 3 Continuing the trend since 2010, a majority of association professionals report that an email welcome is most often used to onboard or engage new members (79%). This represents a higher percentage than in the 2012 research (72%). A mailed welcome kit and a membership card/certificate round out the top three communication methods used for onboarding or engaging new members. However, findings indicate that fewer associations are using a mailed welcome kit than in previous years, perhaps opting for the email welcome instead. Although still used by 60% of associations, this finding represents a continued decline in the use of a mailed welcome kit. A greater percentage of associations are using new member introductory email services to welcome and inform new members of the benefits their association offers. Compared to the 2012 findings, a higher percentage of associations report that they engage new members with a volunteer or staff welcome phone call (31%), and/or a new member introductory email series (28%). Fewer associations are using an in- person new member reception or orientation (21% vs. 25%). Associations with renewal rates at 80% or higher are significantly more inclined to use the volunteer or staff welcome phone call, compared to associations with lower renewal rates.
  22. 22. www.marketinggeneral.com 22 Associations reporting overall increases in membership are significantly more likely to report using new member webinars to engage new members. Associations reporting increases in membership over the past five years are significantly more inclined to also use new member webinars, as well as new member newsletters and in-person new member receptions, compared to those associations reporting a five-year decline in membership. Trade associations are more likely to engage new members on a more personal level than individual member organizations using volunteer or staff welcome calls and in-person receptions or orientations, whereas individual member organizations are more likely to engage new members with a membership card/certificate and new member surveys. Associations with new member renewal rates at 80% or above are significantly more likely to employ volunteer or staff phone calls to engage new members. Trade associations are significantly more likely than individual membership associations and associations who identify as both individual and trade to employ volunteer or staff welcome phone calls (47% vs. 21% and 29%, respectively). In the past fiscal year, how has member engagement and participation changed? AREAS OF ENGAGEMENT n Increased Stayed the same Decreased Attendance at your annual conference/trade show 599 48% 34% 18% Volunteerism with your organization 587 34% 57% 9% Participation in your public social network 567 76% 23% 2% Number of visits to members-only section of website 528 58% 39% 3% Attendance at your professional development meetings 511 48% 40% 12% Attendance at webinars 420 61% 31% 7% Participation in your private social network 406 66% 28% 6% Non-dues product purchases (other than previously checked) 401 36% 51% 13% Non-dues service purchases (other than previously checked) 342 34% 58% 8% Donations to your association’s foundation or PAC 334 38% 48% 14% Book or directory purchases 282 25% 55% 20% Number of members who acquire or maintain a certification with your organization 276 54% 37% 9% Number of membership upgrades 276 41% 49% 9% Participation in your Young Professional program 221 65% 29% 6% Number of members who purchase or maintain insurance through your organization 197 26% 62% 11% Participation in your mentoring program 188 43% 48% 9% Top three in each column. A majority of association executives report that over the past year they have seen increases in engagement in participation in their public social network (76%), participation in their private social network (66%), and participation in their young professionals program (65%). Decreases in engagement are seen mostly in the areas of book or directory purchases (20%), attendance at annual conferences/trade shows (18%), and donations to the association PAC or foundation (14%). Most associations indicate there has been no change in engagement regarding volunteerism (57%), insurance purchases through the organization (62%), and non-dues service purchases (58%).
  23. 23. www.marketinggeneral.com 23 Within the past year, which of the following has your association introduced to enhance member engagement? (Check all that apply.) 73% 51% 39% 32% 32% 24% 18% 10% 7% 8% Changes to website Public social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) Digital publications Mobile apps Member research QR codes Private social media RSS feeds None Other 2013 (n = 690) GROWTH STATISTICS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ORGANIZATIONS WHO INTRODUCED MEMBER RESEARCH IN 2012 Change in Overall Membership (n = 102) Change in Renewal Rate (n = 100) Change in New Members (n = 92) Increased 59% 45% 65% Stayed the Same 16% 32% 20% Decreased 26% 23% 16% Three-quarters of associations have introduced changes to their website as a way to enhance member engagement. This is an interesting finding because the association website is now considered one of the top three channels for creating or maintaining brand awareness and one of the most effective methods for recruiting new members. Additionally, about half of associations have enhanced member engagement with public social media outlets. As noted earlier, three-quarters of association professionals indicate that they use association-sponsored social media to create or maintain brand awareness. Trade associations are significantly more likely to report the use of social media platforms compared to individual member associations. Almost 4 in 10 associations have introduced digital publications to improve member engagement. Associations reporting increases in overall membership over the past year and the past five years are significantly more likely to use member research compared to associations showing member declines in the same time period. Nearly 70% of associations indicate they did not conduct member research in the past year. Among those associations who introduced member research in 2012, findings show that these associations were more likely to see increases in overall membership, renewal rates, and new members. The charts below summarize the growth statistics among individual membership and trade associations who conducted member research in 2012.
  24. 24. www.marketinggeneral.com 24 GROWTH STATISTICS FOR TRADE ASSOCIATIONS WHO INTRODUCED MEMBER RESEARCH IN 2012 Change in Overall Membership (n = 66) Change in Renewal Rate (n = 64) Change in New Members (n = 64) Increased 53% 38% 72% Stayed the Same 21% 28% 16% Decreased 26% 34% 13% GROWTH STATISTICS FOR "BOTH" ASSOCIATIONS WHO INTRODUCED MEMBER RESEARCH IN 2012 Change in Overall Membership (n = 45) Change in Renewal Rate (n = 46) Change in New Members (n = 46) Increased 62% 57% 74% Stayed the Same 11% 7% 13% Decreased 27% 37% 13% Do you have a separate strategic initiative or tactical plan to increase engagement? 60% 34% 6% 2013 (n = 688) Yes No Not sure 60% of association executives report that their organization has a separate strategic initiative or tactical plan to increase engagement. Only one-third of associations do not have a separate plan at this time. Associations reporting increases in overall membership over the past year and over the past five years, as well as those indicating increases in renewals, are significantly more likely to have a separate strategic initiative or tactical plan to increase member engagement. Associations with operating budgets that are over $5 million are also significantly more likely to have a separate member engagement plan compared to associations with smaller operating budgets.
  25. 25. www.marketinggeneral.com 25 Is membership renewal based on a fixed calendar date for all members or an anniversary date from the start of membership? 42% 54% 5% 2013 (n = 691) Fixed calendar date Membership anniversary date Other 42% of associations have a fixed calendar date for renewal of all members, whereas 54% report that renewals are based on the anniversary date from the start of membership. Associations with renewal rates at or above 80% are significantly more likely to report that they have a fixed calendar renewal date. Individual member and hybrid organizations tend to have membership anniversary date renewals, whereas trade associations tend to have fixed calendar date renewals. Similarly, small associations (with up to 1,000 members) are more likely to report fixed date renewals compared to associations with more members. AVERAGE RENEWAL RATES BASED ON RENEWAL DATE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATIONS* Overall Renewal Rate Renewal Rate for First Year Members Fixed calendar date 84% 75% Membership anniversary date 76% 57% *All findings significant. AVERAGE RENEWAL RATES BASED ON RENEWAL DATE TRADE ASSOCIATIONS* Overall Renewal Rate Renewal Rate for First Year Members Fixed calendar date 90% 84% Membership anniversary date 83% 71% *All findings significant. AVERAGE RENEWAL RATES BASED ON RENEWAL DATE "BOTH" ASSOCIATIONS Overall Renewal Rate Renewal Rate for First Year Members Fixed calendar date 78% 79% Membership anniversary date 74% 53% Further analysis of the data reveals that associations that have a fixed calendar date for membership renewals are significantly more likely to have a higher renewal rate than associations that base their renewals on a membership anniversary date. This relationship is true among both individual membership and trade associations. The charts above summarize the differences between the groups.
  26. 26. www.marketinggeneral.com 26 How many membership renewal CONTACTS (such as mailings, emails, phone calls) do you have in your renewal series? NUMBER OF MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL CONTACTS 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 686) 2011 (n = 642) 2010 (n = 404) 2009 (n = 337) None 1% 1% 2% 2% 1% 1 to 3 21% 20% 23% 22% 21% 4 to 6 38% 40% 44% 44% 46% 7 to 9 18% 23% 18% 20% 19% 10 to 12 9% 7% 7% 6% 7% 13 to 15 5% 3% 1% 2% 2% 16 to 18 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% More than 18 2% 2% 2% 2% 1% Not sure 3% 3% 1% 2% 3% A majority of associations report 4 to 6 renewal contacts within their renewal series (38%), with about 27% making 7 to 12 renewal contacts. Results indicate a slight drop in the percentage of associations using between 4 and 9 renewal contacts compared to the 2012 research. However, there is a slight increase in the number of associations contacting members 10 to 15 times in their renewal series (14% vs. 10%) compared to findings from 2012. Directionally, associations with increases in overall membership in the past year tend to have a greater number of contacts in their renewal series. Comparatively, trade associations tend to have fewer contacts in their renewal series compared to individual member organizations. Smaller associations (up to 1,000 members) and those associations with smaller operating budgets (less than $1 million) also tend to have fewer contacts in their renewal series RENEWAL RATES BY NUMBER OF RENEWAL CONTACTS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATIONS (n = 289) 1 to 6 contacts 7 or more contacts Less than 80% renewal 43% 33% 80% or higher renewal 57% 67% Individual member associations using 7 or more contacts in their renewal series are more likely to report overall membership renewal rates at 80% or higher. MEMBERSHIP TYPE BY NUMBER OF CONTACTS Individual Member (n = 324) Trade (n = 197) Both (n = 130) 1 to 6 contacts 55% 71% 65% More than 6 contacts 45% 29% 35% Regardless of association membership type, a majority send up to six contacts in their renewal series, with trade associations being most likely to only send six or fewer renewal messages.
  27. 27. www.marketinggeneral.com 27 WHEN RENEWAL EFFORTS START 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 685) 2011 (n = 641) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 336) Immediately after welcoming 8% 9% 8% 6% 10% Prior to 6 months before expiration 5% 5% 6% 8% 8% 6 months prior to expiration 6% 7% 7% 5% 7% 5 months prior to expiration 3% 3% 4% 3% 5% 4 months prior to expiration 9% 9% 12% 14% 13% 3 months prior to expiration 36% 38% 33% 35% 33% 2 months prior to expiration 18% 16% 16% 15% 13% 1 month prior to expiration 11% 8% 8% 7% 5% The month of expiration 4% 4% 3% 3% 4% Not sure 1% 2% 3% 3% 5% RENEWAL RATES BY START OF RENEWAL EFFORT INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATIONS (n = 289) Three months or less prior to expiration More than three months prior to expiration Less than 80% renewal 41% 32% 80% or higher renewal 59% 68% MEMBERSHIP TYPE BY START OF RENEWAL EFFORT Individual Member (n = 325) Trade (n = 205) Both (n = 136) 3 months or less prior to expiration 67% 69% 78% More than 3 months prior to expiration 33% 31% 22% About one-third of associations begin the renewal process 3 months prior to expiration (36%). This represents a slight drop from the 2012 data. Results indicate that a slightly higher percentage of associations are beginning their renewal efforts closer to the date of expiration (1 to 2 months before expiration), representing a continued upward trend for this tactic (29% vs. 24%). Review of renewal timing indicates that trade organizations tend to start their renewal efforts sooner than individual member organizations, whereas associations with smaller operating budgets tend to start their renewal efforts closer to the expiration date. When do you start the renewal effort? Individual membership associations that begin their renewal efforts more than three months before expiration are more likely to have overall renewal rates that are at 80% or higher (68% vs. 59%). The majority of associations, regardless of type, start their renewal efforts 3 months or less prior to expiration; however, associations with both individual and organizational memberships are most likely to begin their renewal efforts 3 months or less prior to expiration.
  28. 28. www.marketinggeneral.com 28 When do you end renewal efforts (stop renewal contacts to the member)? WHEN RENEWAL EFFORTS STOP 2013 (n = 687) 2012 (n = 688) 2011 (n = 639) 2010 (n = 404) 2009 (n = 336) At the month of expiration 2% 2% 2% 1% 2% 1 month after expiration 10% 7% 8% 9% 9% 2 months after expiration 15% 13% 13% 14% 13% 3 months after expiration 21% 23% 24% 23% 21% 4 months after expiration 8% 9% 7% 7% 13% 5 months after expiration 3% 2% 3% 2% N/A 6 months after expiration 10% 8% 8% 8% N/A More than 6 months after expiration 10% 11% 11% 14% N/A We don’t stop contact 20% 21% 22% 19% 21% Not sure 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% MEMBERSHIP TYPE BY WHEN RENEWAL EFFORTS STOP Individual Member (n = 322) Trade (n = 204) Both (n = 133) Up to 3 months after expiration 50% 44% 47% More than 3 months after expiration 50% 56% 53% While the data show no differences among individual member associations, trade associations and combination associations are more likely to send renewal notices to members for more than three months after expiration. About one-third of associations end their renewal efforts within 2 to 3 months after expiration (36%). A slightly higher percentage of associations stop at the 2 month point with a corresponding drop in associations that wait until the 3 month mark to end their renewal efforts. 20% of associations do not stop contact with their lapsed members in an effort to renew the membership. Associations indicating an overall increase in membership over the past five years are significantly more likely to report that they do not stop contacting members (21% vs. 11%). Trade associations tend to extend their renewal efforts longer than individual membership organizations. Associations with 80% or higher renewals on new members are more likely to indicate they do not stop contacting members in their renewal efforts.
  29. 29. www.marketinggeneral.com 29 Which of the following marketing channels do you use for membership renewals? (Check all that apply.) MARKETING CHANNELS USED FOR MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 685) 2011 (n = 644) 2010 (n = 405) 2009 (n = 333) Email marketing 90% 88% 88% 88% 83% Direct mail 79% 81% 82% 85% 91% Staff phone calls 53% 53% 52% 49% 56% Peer member contacts 26% 23% 20% 24% 31% Telemarketing 20% 21% 24% 23% 27% Board phone calls 17% 17% 18% 15% 28% Magazine cover wraps 15% 17% 15% N/A N/A Chapter phone calls 15% 13% 14% 14% 15% Social media contacts 12% 15% 13% N/A N/A Employer contacts 8% 6% 8% 7% 4% Fax 7% 9% 10% 11% 17% QR codes 3% N/A N/A N/A N/A PURL 2% 3% N/A N/A N/A Texting 1% 2% N/A N/A N/A Renewal app for mobile devices 1% 1% N/A N/A N/A Other 6% 3% 3% 3% 4% The top marketing channels for the past five years are email marketing, direct mail, and staff phone calls. Data indicate a slight increase in the percentage of associations using email when compared to data since 2009. Conversely, the percentage of associations that use direct mail as a channel for membership renewal has decreased each year since 2009. When looking at the relationship between the top three marketing channels and renewal rate, data reveal the following: — 67% of associations that use email marketing have an 80% or better renewal rate — 70% of associations that use direct mail have an 80% or better renewal rate — 76% of associations that use staff phone calls have an 80% or better renewal rate Individual membership associations are significantly more likely than trade associations to use telemarketing as a channel for membership renewals (24% vs. 13%). Similarly, individual membership associations are significantly more likely than trade associations to use chapter phone calls (19% vs. 10%) and social media contacts (14% vs. 8%). Among those associations that use email marketing as a channel for membership renewals, 67% have a renewal rate of 80% or better. Blue: Top marketing channel used for membership renewals. Red: Continued decrease in use as a marketing channel for renewals. Top three marketing channels used for membership renewals.
  30. 30. www.marketinggeneral.com 30 Do you offer any of the following renewal options? (Check all that apply.) 47% 28% 26% 25% 20% 19% 18% 14% 46% 32% 26% 24% 22% 22% 15% 46% 32% 28% 24% 25% 21% 15% 46% 33% 28% 22% 19% 10% Installment renewal payments (monthly, quarterly) Multi-year renewals Renewal bill-me Automatic annual credit card renewal Lifetime membership Early renewal discounts Automatic annual Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) renewals Gift or premiums for renewal 2013 (n = 469) 2012 (n = 445) 2011 (n = 440) 2010 (n = 246) Not asked in 2010 Not asked previously The most popular renewal option associations offer are installment renewal payments that can be paid monthly, quarterly, etc. Trade associations are significantly more likely to offer this type of renewal option when compared to individual membership associations (69% vs. 40%). Trend data show a steady decrease in the percentage of associations that offer a lifetime membership renewal option. Individual membership associations are significantly more likely than trade associations to offer multi-year renewals (39% vs. 12%), automatic annual credit card renewal (29% vs. 20%), lifetime membership (31% vs. 4%), and a gift or premium (18% vs. 10%). Associations with an 80% or higher renewal rate are significantly more likely to use installment renewal payments when compared to associations with a less than 80% renewal rate (58% vs. 32%). On the other hand, associations with a less than 80% renewal rate are significantly more likely to use early renewal discounts (28% vs.14%).
  31. 31. www.marketinggeneral.com 31 What do you believe is the ONE TOP reason members DO NOT renew their membership in your organization? For the second year in a row, association executives report that the number one reason members do not renew membership is due to budget cuts or economic hardship of the company. This is the number one cited reason among trade associations (30%). Most individual membership associations say that members do not renew because of the lack of engagement with the organization. Segmenting data by membership size reveals that associations with 20,000 or more members are most likely to report that members do not renew membership in their organization because of a lack of value (14%). The number one reason for not renewing membership among associations with a less than 60% renewal rate for first-year members is that members could not justify membership costs with any significant ROI. Blue: Top reasons for not renewing membership per year. Red: Continued decline as a reason for non-renewal. Top three reasons for not renewing membership. REASONS FOR NOT RENEWING MEMBERSHIP 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 687) 2011 (n = 639) 2010 (n = 400) 2009 (n = 333) Budget cuts/economic hardship of company 18% 17% N/A N/A N/A Lack of engagement with the organization 15% 14% N/A N/A N/A Could not justify membership costs with any significant ROI 11% 11% N/A N/A N/A Employer won’t pay or stopped paying dues 10% 12% 15% 25% 22% Lack of value 10% 11% 24% 36% 20% Left the field, industry, or profession 7% 8% 12% N/A N/A Too expensive 5% 5% 14% 11% 22% Forgot to renew 4% 4% 7% 6% 11% Company closed or merged 3% 2% 7% N/A N/A Retirement 2% 2% 2% 4% 4% Lack of relevance 1% 3% N/A N/A N/A Can get materials from other members/other sources 1% 1% N/A N/A N/A Disagree with the advocacy position of the association 1% 1% N/A N/A N/A Lost job 1% 1% 3% 4% 3% Poor customer service 1% 1% -- 1% -- Student memberships do not convert to full memberships 1% 1% N/A N/A N/A Disappointment with the benefits/services 1% 2% N/A N/A N/A Moved 1% 2% N/A N/A N/A Switch to competitor -- 1% 1% 1% -- Not sure 2% 2% 6% 2% 4% Other 7% 4% 9% 12% 14%
  32. 32. www.marketinggeneral.com 32 After a membership lapses or expires, how long do you continue to contact members to invite them to reinstate their membership? LENGTH OF TIME FOR CONTACTING LAPSED MEMBERS TO REINSTATE THEIR MEMBERSHIP 2013 (n = 689) 2012 (n = 686) 2011 (n = 641) 2010 (n = 403) 2009 (n = 333) We don’t contact lapsed members 10% 10% 11% 10% 8% 1 year after expiration 19% 22% 22% 24% 25% 2 years after expiration 12% 13% 14% 15% 13% 3 years after expiration 8% 10% 9% 6% 6% 4 to 5 years after expiration 5% 5% 4% 6% 5% 6 to 10 years after expiration 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% We continue indefinitely to contact lapsed members 32% 31% 30% 24% 30% Other 7% 4% 3% 7% 6% Not sure 5% 5% 5% 7% 7% After a membership lapses or expires, most associations (32%) continue to contact lapsed members indefinitely to invite them to reinstate their membership. Data reveal a steady increase in the percentage of associations that report doing this from 2010. Most individual membership associations continue to contact lapsed members up to 1 year after expiration (21%), while most trade associations continue to contact lapsed members indefinitely (43%). MEMBERSHIP TYPE BY HOW LONG LAPSED MEMBERS ARE CONTACTED Individual Member (n = 302) Trade (n = 178) Both (n = 120) We don't contact lapsed members 13% 10% 11% 1 to 3 years after expiration 46% 38% 53% More than 3 years after expiration 41% 52% 37% Trade associations tend to contact lapsed members longer than individual member organizations or combination organizations.
  33. 33. www.marketinggeneral.com 33 What methods do you use to continually contact lapsed members? (Check all that apply.) 90% 66% 51% 9% 3% 1% 5% 91% 65% 40% 14% 6% 0% Email Direct mail Phone Social media Fax Text Other 2013 (n = 584) 2012 (n = 209) N/A Email is the preferred method of communication association executives use in order to continually contact lapsed members to renew their membership in the association. Findings indicate there is a substantial increase in the use of phone calls to contact lapsed members. Trend data suggest that a slightly lower percentage of associations are using social media to continually contact lapsed members for membership renewal.
  34. 34. www.marketinggeneral.com 34 Social Media Social media has become an increasingly used marketing tool across many industries—associations included. The next section will provide information about social media uses for membership marketing among associations. Which social media does your organization officially use? (Check all that apply.) SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS OFFICIALLY USED BY ASSOCIATIONS 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 685) 2011 (n = 641) 2010 (n = 405) Facebook 85% 86% 91% 75% Twitter 76% 79% 71% 66% LinkedIn (Public Access) 54% 56% 53% 59% YouTube 52% 53% 45% 35% Association Blog 35% 30% 27% 30% LinkedIn (Members Only) 34% 30% 28% N/A Association Listserv 24% 22% 24% 31% Flickr 17% 15% 15% N/A Private Association Social Network 16% 19% 18% 17% Google+ 11% 11% N/A N/A Pinterest 10% N/A N/A N/A Wikis 5% 8% 9% 13% Ning/Groupsite 2% 4% 4% 6% MySpace 1% 1% 1% 4% None 4% 3% 6% 8% Other 5% 4% 4% 6% Blue: Most commonly used social media tool. Red: Steady increase in social media usage. Top three social media tools. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (public access) are the three most common social media sites used by associations for the past four years. Individual membership associations are significantly more likely than trade associations to use Facebook (89% vs. 79%) and an association listserv (30% vs. 18%). Trend data show a steady increase in the percentage of associations that use an association blog and a members-only LinkedIn site. Associations with an annual operating budget over $5 million are significantly more likely to use a private association social network when compared to associations with smaller budgets. SECTION 4
  35. 35. www.marketinggeneral.com 35 SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE n Assoc. Blog Assoc. Listserv Facebook Flickr Google+ LinkedIn (Private) LinkedIn (Public) Pinterest Private Assoc. Social Network Twitter YouTube Generating awareness for your association 574 30% 12% 84% 11% 6% 21% 50% 8% 8% 69% 43% Promoting specific association benefits, services, programs 477 25% 16% 74% 3% 5% 22% 35% 3% 15% 59% 21% Providing association news 546 30% 17% 80% 2% 5% 21% 38% 2% 13% 67% 14% Promoting association events 463 26% 17% 81% 6% 5% 24% 41% 4% 14% 71% 25% Promoting industry events 410 26% 17% 81% 3% 3% 21% 36% 2% 12% 67% 16% Providing advocacy/legislative information 370 34% 19% 66% 1% 3% 17% 29% 1% 13% 60% 15% Providing industry-related information 494 33% 17% 68% 2% 6% 22% 36% 4% 13% 61% 18% Promoting education/certification 463 21% 19% 78% 3% 5% 23% 39% 1% 16% 59% 19% Providing how-to information 297 27% 19% 39% 1% 3% 14% 23% 2% 17% 28% 29% Promoting socialization/discourse among members 442 21% 19% 67% 4% 3% 25% 30% 3% 18% 45% 8% Promoting socialization/discourse among attendees while at events 375 14% 9% 56% 7% 3% 10% 17% 3% 13% 77% 10% Promoting specific sessions and programs at your meetings/events 460 22% 14% 70% 3% 3% 19% 33% 1% 12% 71% 12% Soliciting new members 335 14% 6% 70% 1% 5% 14% 45% 2% 4% 47% 16% Promoting membership in your organization 455 21% 10% 77% 4% 4% 19% 44% 3% 8% 57% 25% Harvesting contact information for recruitment efforts 274 9% 7% 48% 1% 1% 20% 51% -- 6% 24% 4% Highest percentage in each row. Second-highest percentage in each row. Third-highest percentage in each row. Seeing as Facebook, Twitter, and a public LinkedIn site are the most commonly used social media platforms for associations, it is no surprise that they are most often used for almost all forms of member engagement. Twitter tends to be used over Facebook when promoting discussion or specific sessions at events, and YouTube is used slightly more than Twitter when providing how-to information, presumably because it incorporates a video demonstration, although Twitter can include a link to the YouTube feed. Facebook is used more often than Twitter for soliciting new members and promoting membership in the organization, but the public LinkedIn site is used for harvesting the contact information for recruitment efforts. For about one-third of associations, the internal association blog is used to provide advocacy and legislative information. Of the social media outlets that you use, please indicate how you use them.
  36. 36. www.marketinggeneral.com 36 Which department in your association is responsible for your social media programs? (Check all that apply.) 52% 44% 31% 8% 7% 6% 4% 12% Communications Marketing Membership IT Education Advocacy and policy Social media Other 2013 (n = 657) While half of the sample indicates that their communications department is responsible for social media sites, 4% of associations in the sample indicate they have a separate social media department that manages the organization’s social media platforms. The communications department is most likely to handle social media programs in individual member and trade associations, whereas the marketing department is most often responsible for social media in associations that have both individual and organizational memberships. 54% 42% 28% 8% 5% 6% 4% 10% 53% 41% 33% 7% 10% 7% 4% 12% 46% 51% 31% 9% 9% 8% 5% 13% Communications Marketing Membership IT Education Advocacy and policy Social media Other Individual (n = 324) Trade (n = 189) Both (n = 130)
  37. 37. www.marketinggeneral.com 37 Challenges and Goals It is necessary for an association to define its challenges and then strategically plan its goals for the coming year. The next section will focus on what associations see as their biggest challenges and the membership goals that will define success. What are your organization's TOP THREE biggest challenges to growing membership?* TOP CHALLENGES TO GROWING MEMBERSHIP 2013 (n = 688) 2012 (n = 683) 2011 (n = 631) Insufficient staff 27% 24% 16% Difficulty attracting and/or maintaining younger members 24% 24% N/A Perception of the association and/or its culture (i.e., old boy’s network, not specialized enough) 23% 24% N/A Membership too diverse; difficulty meeting needs of different segments 22% 26% N/A Insufficient budget 22% 21% 13% Changing demographics of industry 20% 18% N/A Competitive associations 19% 16% N/A Lack of strategy or plan 18% 17% 11% Weak product or service offerings 17% 18% 13% Inadequate association management database 16% 13% 8% Lack of marketing expertise 12% 10% 7% Industry consolidation 11% 14% N/A Inadequate research to understand market 10% 10% 7% Difficulty in converting student memberships to regular memberships 10% 9% N/A Market saturation 9% 10% 9% Lack of integration between national and chapters 7% 8% N/A Misalignment of goals between board and executive staff 4% 4% N/A Poor customer service 1% 1% N/A Economy -- 1% N/A Other 11% 12% 16% *In the 2011 Membership Benchmarking Survey, respondents were asked to choose the single biggest challenge to growing membership. Blue: Top challenge to growing membership. Top three challenges to growing membership. 2013 data suggest that the top three challenges associations have when it comes to growing membership are insufficient staff, difficulty attracting and/or maintaining younger members, and the perception of the association and/or its culture. The top challenge for associations with an 80% or above renewal rate is insufficient staff. Conversely, the number one challenge to growing membership among associations with a less than 80% renewal rate is difficulty attracting and/or maintaining younger members. When examining data according to an association's operating budget, findings suggest that the number one challenge among associations with an operating budget under $5 million is insufficient staff. Among those associations that report having an operating budget over $5 million, their number one challenge to growing membership is meeting the specific needs of a diverse membership. SECTION 5
  38. 38. www.marketinggeneral.com 38 TOP CHALLENGES TO GROWING MEMBERSHIP BY FIVE YEAR MEMBERSHIP GROWTH Challenge Five Year Membership Increased (n = 367) Five Year Membership Unchanged (n = 50) Five Year Membership Decreased (n = 254) Insufficient staff Membership too diverse Perception of the association Insufficient budget Difficulty attracting/maintaining young members Changing demographics of industry This year’s findings indicate that there is some overlap in challenges between associations with different long-term growth patterns. The challenges faced by associations showing increases in membership over the past five years (insufficient staff, too much diversity in membership, and perceptions of the association) are shared by those showing no change or declines in membership. Associations showing no change struggle also with insufficient budgets and a change in industry demographics. Associations showing declines in five-year membership and those showing no change find attracting and/or maintaining young members to be a substantial challenge. TOP CHALLENGES TO GROWING MEMBERSHIP BY MEMBERSHIP TYPE Challenge Individual Member (n = 332) Trade (n = 206) Both (n = 136) Insufficient staff Membership too diverse Perception of the association Insufficient budget Difficulty attracting/maintaining young members Data also highlight several differences between the type of membership an association offers. While all three types of membership cite insufficient staff as a top challenge, we find that trade organizations and associations that offer both individual member and trade membership are more likely to report that an insufficient budget is a top challenge. Similarly, these associations are more likely to report that a diverse membership is a significant barrier to growing membership.
  39. 39. www.marketinggeneral.com 39 TOP CHALLENGES TO GROWING MEMBERSHIP BY SIZE OF MEMBERSHIP Challenge Up to 1,000 (n = 298) 1,001- 5,000 (n = 181) 5,001- 20,000 (n = 111) More than 20,000 (n = 65) Insufficient staff Membership too diverse Perception of the association Insufficient budget Difficulty attracting/maintaining young members Segmenting data by the size of an association's membership also reveals key differences. Associations with fewer than 5,000 members are more likely to say insufficient staff is a significant challenge. Conversely, associations with more than 5,000 members are more likely to state that attracting or maintaining younger members is difficult. Those associations with fewer than 20,000 members are more likely to report that an insufficient budget is a challenge. 74% 74% 38% 33% 28% 21% 16% 9% 2% Increasing member engagement Increasing both membership acquisition and retention Increase understanding of member needs Increasing non-dues revenue from members Increasing dues revenue Increasing membership retention Increasing membership acquisition Increasing member diversity Other 2013 (n = 690) What are your association's TOP THREE membership goals? Findings suggest that the top three goals associations set are increasing member engagement, increasing both membership acquisition and retention, and increasing understanding of member needs. Trade associations are significantly more likely than individual membership associations to set a goal to increase member engagement (83% vs. 71%). Associations with a budget larger than $1 million are significantly more likely than associations with budgets less than $1 million to set a goal to increase dues revenue.
  40. 40. www.marketinggeneral.com 40 Dues and Membership Structure Associations are often plagued with questions about how and when to raise dues. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in the shifting of membership models to create a different type of dues structure. The following data answers questions about how associations are handling dues increases and membership models. How much are your basic annual membership dues? BASIC ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES 2013 (n = 690) 2012 (n = 686) 2011 (n = 641) 2010 (n = 401) 2009 (n = 324) Under $50 6% 6% 7% 6% 4% $50 - $99 11% 12% 11% 12% 7% $100 - $149 10% 9% 11% 14% 11% $150 - $199 11% 12% 13% 12% 12% $200 - $299 11% 12% 12% 11% 16% $300 - $399 8% 9% 7% 10% 13% $400 - $499 5% 4% 6% 5% 9% $500 - $749 6% 6% 5% 4% 11% $750 - $999 2% 2% 2% 3% 3% $1,000 and over 6% 6% 6% 6% 7% Varies by company size 23% 22% 20% 19% 9% Results indicate there is very little shift in the association dues from the previous research. About one-third of associations indicate their membership dues are between $100 and $299 (32%). This is similar to the 2012 results. Just under one-quarter of the associations in the sample say their annual membership dues vary by company size. BASIC ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES BY MEMBERSHIP TYPE Individual Member (n = 331) Trade (n = 209) Both (n = 136) Under $50 9% 1% 7% $50 - $99 15% 1% 17% $100 - $149 15% 2% 10% $150 - $199 16% 2% 12% $200 - $299 15% 5% 13% $300 - $399 11% 4% 10% $400 - $499 6% 4% 3% $500 - $749 5% 8% 6% $750 - $999 2% 3% 2% $1,000 and over 2% 15% 2% Varies by company size 5% 56% 19% While most individual membership associations (16%) charge $150–$199 for annual membership dues, trade associations and associations who identify as both an individual membership and trade association are most likely to offer prices for membership that vary by company size. Blue: Highest percentage per membership type. SECTION 6
  41. 41. www.marketinggeneral.com 41 How often does your association raise membership dues? When was the last time your association raised membership dues? 24% 21% 11% 9% 8% 5% 3% 6% 15% 2013 or plan to this year 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 Other year 2013 (n = 680) Almost half (45%) of the association executives indicate that their organization either plans to raise dues this year or raised their membership dues in 2012. Associations with renewal rates at or above 80% are more likely to indicate they plan to raise dues this year compared to those with lower renewal rates (27% vs. 19%). Among those associations that report raising dues in 2012, 34% saw an increase in renewal rates over the past year, while 28% saw no change and 38% saw a decrease in renewal rates. 31% of trade associations plan to increase their membership dues this year compared to 21% of individual member organizations. However, 25% of individual membership associations report that they raised their membership dues in 2012 compared to only 16% of trade associations. 22% 6% 63% 10% 0% 17% 4% 58% 9% 12% Annually Every other year As needed Never Other 2013 (n = 610) 2011 (n = 644) Similar to findings from 2011, most associations raise dues only as needed. After that, about 22% of associations raise dues annually. Associations with renewal rates that are 80% or higher are more likely to raise dues annually compared to associations with lower renewal rates (28% vs. 13%). An annual dues hike is often lower than one that may occur sporadically. Trade associations are significantly more likely to raise their dues annually compared to individual member organizations (29% vs. 17%). Associations with the highest percentages of new member renewals (80% or higher) are significantly more likely to raise dues annually, while those with lower renewal rates are more likely to raise dues as needed.
  42. 42. www.marketinggeneral.com 42 What was the average percentage of your last membership dues increase across all membership categories? 51% 25% 9% 7% 4% 1% 1% 1% 2% 1% to 5% 6% to 10% 11% to 15% 16% to 20% 21% to 25% 26% to 30% 31% to 35% 36% to 40% More than 40% 2013 (n = 636) How would you describe your membership dues structure? 51% 22% 12% 1% 14% 47% 25% 14% 2% 13% The membership dues are based on certain attributes (e.g., qualifications, experience, company size, revenue) Everyone pays the same membership dues The membership dues are based on a tiered structure of increasing benefits The membership dues are based on member- selected benefits (à la carte) Other 2013 (n = 693) 2012 (n = 686) A membership dues structure based on specific attributes is the most common type of membership structure for participants in this study (51%), a slight increase from the previous year. There are slight declines in other types of membership structures, including the “one size fits all” model where everyone pays the same dues and the tiered membership structure which offers an increased level of benefits for higher dues payments. About one-half of associations raise dues only 1 to 5%, while one-quarter raise dues between 6 and 10%. Associations with 80% or more renewal rates are significantly more likely to raise dues up to 5% only. Trade associations are significantly more likely to raise dues up to 5% compared to individual member organizations (60% vs. 45%), while individual member groups have a significantly higher propensity to increase dues by 6 to 10% (29% vs. 20%).
  43. 43. www.marketinggeneral.com 43 Findings demonstrate that associations with renewal rates at or above 80% are significantly more likely to have a membership structure that is based on specific attributes and criteria, while those with renewal rates under 80% are significantly more likely to report that everyone pays the same dues rate. 69% of trade associations report a dues structure based on specific criteria compared to only 42% of individual member organizations, while 29% of the individual member groups employ a single fee membership structure compared to only 15% of trade associations. The largest associations (20,000 or more members) are more likely to report that everyone pays the same dues, while smaller associations (under 20,000 members) are more likely to have a dues structure based on specific attributes. Industries most likely to indicate a structure where everyone pays the same dues include philanthropic/service organizations and real estate. Industries most likely to report a tiered membership structure include arts/cultural/historical/museums. Have you made any changes to your membership model (i.e., the membership categories your association offers) within the past two years? 33% 67% (n = 671) Yes No Only one-third of associations have made changes to their membership model within the past two years. While associations boasting 80% renewal rates or higher are significantly more likely to indicate they have not made changes to their membership model (70%), findings show that associations reporting increases in new members and increases in overall renewals are significantly more likely to have made such changes compared to associations with no change or declines in new members and renewals. 42% 29% 13% 2% 14% 69% 15% 5% 2% 9% 46% 15% 17% 2% 21% The membership dues are based on certain attributes (e.g., qualifications, experience, company size, revenue) Everyone pays the same membership dues The membership dues are based on a tiered structure of increasing benefits The membership dues are based on member- selected benefits (a la carte) Other Individual (n = 334) Trade (n = 209) Both (n = 136)
  44. 44. www.marketinggeneral.com 44 Managing Your Association This section contains information on the business of running an association. Results pertaining to operating budgets, spending on membership marketing programs, and how much of the budget is attributed to each spending area are discussed. Additionally, this section reports on the most used AMS software and different types of research used to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. What is your organization's annual operating budget? 65% 14% 12% 7% 3% 65% 14% 10% 8% 3% 56% 20% 13% 9% 3% Up to $4.9 million $5 million to $9.9 million $10 million to $19.9 million $20 million to $50 million More than $50 million 2013 (n = 673) 2012 (n = 670) 2011 (n = 613) Compared to the 2012 research, there are very few differences in operating budgets. Similar to 2012, about two-thirds of associations report operating budgets less than $5 million. OPERATING BUDGET BY NUMBER OF PAID MEMBERS AND STUDY YEAR Less than $1 million $1 million to $4.9 million $5 million and higher 2013 (n = 193) 2012 (n = 165) 2013 (n = 227) 2012 (n = 262) 2013 (n = 225) 2012 (n = 237) Up to 1,000 68% 67% 36% 27% 35% 8% 1,001 to 5,000 26% 29% 39% 42% 18% 19% 5,001 to 20,000 4% 4% 22% 24% 24% 32% More than 20,000 2% -- 3% 7% 23% 41% Blue: Highest percentage per column. Substantial decrease from previous year. Substantial increase from previous year. Findings from 2013 show that most associations with a less than $1 million budget and a $5 million and higher budget have up to 1,000 members. Among those associations that have an operating budget of $1 million to $4.9 million, most have a membership of 1,001 to 5,000 members. SECTION 7
  45. 45. www.marketinggeneral.com 45 Over the course of a year, excluding staff costs, how much did you spend on the following membership marketing programs? MEAN AMOUNT SPENT ON MEMBERSHIP MARKETING PROGRAMS BY YEAR 2013 2012 2011 2010 Awareness and branding $76,512 $46,009 $92,453 $109,633 Recruitment $62,566 $80,275 $56,705 $118,789 Engagement/onboarding $32,929 $21,132 $43,401 $53,485 Renewals $42,332 $40,358 $24,943 $27,520 Reinstatement or win-back $18,628 $14,018 $14,048 $19,644 While spending seemed to decline since 2010, the findings this year indicate that associations have started to increase their budgets again, as mean spending in all areas has increased except for recruitment. The average increases for each of the areas: – 66% increase in spending for awareness and branding – 56% increase in spending for engagement/onboarding – 5% increase in spending for renewals – 33% increase in spending for reinstatement The average decline in spending for recruitment is about 22%. “Engagement with both potential and current members is the key to success. You must create a valuable experience for members.” MEAN AMOUNT SPENT ON MEMBERSHIP MARKETING PROGRAMS BY ORGANIZATION TYPE Individual Member Trade Both Awareness and branding $88,307 $56,926 $88,306 Recruitment $80,816 $42,482 $53,570 Engagement/onboarding $41,182 $25,871 $27,829 Renewals $58,799 $24,392 $28,911 Reinstatement or win-back $26,986 $8,964 $9,121 MEAN AMOUNT SPENT ON ACQUISITION AND RETENTION BY ORGANIZATION TYPE Individual Member Trade Both Acquisition $169,123 $99,408 $141,876 Retention $126,967 $59,227 $65,861 Regardless of the type of organization, the largest amount is spent on awareness and branding of the association. The chart below shows that associations tend to spend more in general on acquisition programs than on retention programs. “When you make retention your primary goal and focus on delivering value to your members, that will make the decision to renew obvious; the recruitment challenge then becomes that much easier.”
  46. 46. www.marketinggeneral.com 46 MEAN AMOUNT SPENT ON MEMBERSHIP MARKETING PROGRAMS BY RENEWAL RATE Less than 80% 80% and higher Awareness and branding $66,051 $73,079 Recruitment $68,348 $64,216 Engagement/onboarding $32,549 $33,711 Renewals $38,514 $48,969 Reinstatement or win-back $21,775 $17,852 Associations with renewal rates at or above 80% spend more on awareness and branding and renewals, while associations with renewals under 80% spend more on recruitment and reinstatement. Associations tend to spend similar amounts on engagement/onboarding. What percentage of revenue is attributable to each of the following areas? (Means reported) 43% 25% 6% 5% 4% 2% 15% Dues Conferences/meetings/trade shows Books/products/services Webinars/seminars/training (not offered during annual meeting) Certification and accompanying materials Affinity programs (e.g., insurance, credit cards) All other revenue areas 2013 (n = 695) Two-thirds of associations’ revenue comes from dues and conferences, meetings and/or trade shows. Results indicate that associations reporting increases in membership over the past year and the past five years attribute a significantly higher percentage of revenue to conferences, meetings, and trade shows than those associations showing membership declines in the same areas. While not a large part of the revenue stream, individual member associations report significantly higher revenues attributable to certification, webinars/seminars, and books/products/services, compared to trade associations. Associations with new member renewals of 80% or higher attribute a significantly higher percentage of revenue to dues and webinars/seminars compared to associations with lower new member renewal rates. “We need to diversify our revenue streams, including a greater percentage from dues income. We can't raise dues significantly for many members because they see us as only providing value through our trade shows and are missing the year-round advocacy and information value we provide all year long.”
  47. 47. www.marketinggeneral.com 47 40% 24% 7% 5% 5% 2% 17% 48% 26% 5% 4% 2% 3% 13% 40% 27% 6% 6% 4% 1% 16% Dues Conferences/meetings/trade shows Books/products/services Webinars/seminars/training (not offered during annual meeting) Certification and accompanying materials Affinity programs (e.g., insurance, credit cards) All other revenue areas Individual (n = 334) Trade (n = 210) Both (n = 136) While all association types gain their largest share of revenue from dues, almost half of trade associations are supported by membership dues. The second largest revenue generator is the annual conference or trade show. What types of research tools do you use to effectively measure member needs? (Check all that apply.) 70% 39% 30% 30% 22% 17% 8% 8% 77% 41% 31% 24% 23% 13% 8% 7% Quantitative survey research Focus groups Phone interviews On-site interviews/intercepts Secondary research Online panels/bulletin boards None Other 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 687) Of the associations that conduct member research, the most common is quantitative survey research, although this has declined since the previous year. On par with findings from 2012, close to 40% of associations use focus groups and 30% employ phone interviews. The methodologies that have increased in use since the 2012 study are on-site interview/intercepts, probably conducted at annual meetings and trade shows, and online panels/bulletin boards, which can bring people together to discuss issues regardless of their location.
  48. 48. www.marketinggeneral.com 48 Associations reporting increases in membership over the past year are significantly more likely to use quantitative survey research than associations showing declines. Additionally, associations indicating increases or no change in renewals are also significantly more likely to employ quantitative survey research. Compared to individual member organizations, trade associations are significantly more likely to use phone interviews (40% vs. 24%). Individual member organizations, however, are significantly more inclined to utilize quantitative survey research (74% vs. 67%) and focus groups (45% vs. 33%). Associations with more than 20,000 members and those with operating budgets over $5 million are more inclined to use research to measure member needs, and are significantly more likely to employ several research methodologies than smaller associations or those with smaller budgets. What types of analysis do you use to measure the effectiveness of your membership marketing campaigns? (Check all that apply.) 49% 37% 25% 24% 17% 16% 15% 5% 4% 31% 2% 49% 29% 16% 20% 15% 7% 6% 40% Response rate analysis Return on investment (ROI) Source code or keycode capture and analysis Cost of acquisition Liftetime value analysis A/B split marketing tests Computer matchback to prospect database Recency/Frequency/Monetary amount analysis Regression analysis None Other 2013 (n = 691) 2012 (n = 667) Not asked in 2012 Not asked in 2012 Not asked in 2012 49% of associations use response rate analysis to measure the effectiveness of their membership marketing. This represents no change from the previous research. More than one-third of associations employ return on investment (ROI) measurements (37%), and about one-quarter use source code or keycode capture and analysis (25%) and cost of acquisition analysis (24%). 31% of associations are not using any analysis to measure their marketing effectiveness, but this represents a decline from the findings reported in 2012. Associations reporting increases in overall membership over the past year and those with increases or no change in their renewals are significantly more inclined to employ response rate analysis and return on investment measurements than associations with declines in the same areas. Individual member organizations, those with more than 20,000 members, and those with operating budgets of at least $1 million, are significantly more likely to utilize multiple types of effectiveness measurements. “Develop a deep understanding of your membership through data in your database and through outside market research. This information is very useful in setting direction and priorities, and understanding shortcomings and approaches to address them. It has proven invaluable in gaining buy-in from the leadership and CEO.”
  49. 49. www.marketinggeneral.com 49 What association management software (AMS) do you use? ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE USED BY STUDY YEAR 2013 (n = 684) 2012 (n = 640) iMIS (ASI-iMIS) 20% 19% Avectra Inc. 13% 11% Personify/TMA Resources 7% 6% Home grown or tailor-made system 6% 11% Microsoft Excel 4% N/A Microsoft Access 3% N/A Microsoft CRM 3% N/A Salesforce 2% N/A Aptify 2% 2% Affiniscape 2% N/A Protech 2% 2% YourMembership 2% 2% CDC gomembers 2% 1% ISSI (Impak) 2% 1% MemberClicks 1% 1% Wild Apricot 1% N/A ACGI Software 1% 2% CiviCRM 1% N/A Euclid Clear Vantage 1% N/A Timberlake Software 1% -- 123Signup Association Management Solutions, Inc. 1% 1% JL Systems (NOAH) 1% 1% None 4% 9% Other 22% 32% While there is a wide variety of AMS technology available, the most widely used association management software systems are iMIS (20%) and Avectra (13%). Fewer associations are using home grown systems compared to the previous research. Additionally, only 4% of association professionals now indicate they do not use any association management software.

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