What have all of the changes made by associations in 2020 – virtual meetings and conferences, membership fee restructuring, guidance to pandemic- and recovery-related policies – meant to members? A study of association members and staff shows:
- Membership matters more than ever While 93% of survey respondents say membership is important, nearly half point out that membership may be more important than ever before. In a comparable 2018 survey, only 87% of respondents thought association membership was important – which means associations did a good job communicating and providing value.
- COVID-19 has changed ways to engage When asked about engagement, nearly half of members reported being more engaged in 2020 than in 2019, and only 28% reported being less engaged.
- Virtual events rise in importance In a typical year, annual events comprise 40% of an association’s revenue according to staff surveyed. While event fees for virtual conferences were lower, the elimination of traditional barriers such as travel, time, and expense resulted in audience growth by as much as 80%.
- Digital tools become crucial When asked how and when members want to receive digital communication, 81% support weekly, twice per month, or monthly communication. Facebook and Instagram continue to be the most popular social media channels for members, with Twitter seen as “overused” and only 33% of members wanting to engage on the platform. Private member communities are preferred by almost one-third of member respondents.
- Technology investments accelerated More than 80% of employees say that technology has been at least “very important,” including 42% who say it has been “absolutely critical,” in keeping association members engaged in 2020. Nearly half of organization staff report that purchase timelines for investing in digital and technology solutions have accelerated over the past year whereas 42 percent say that investments stayed the same, and only 5 percent report that timelines have decelerated.
To read a fuller description of results, click here.