Demonstrating Association Membership ROI: Making the Case

Demonstrating Association membership ROI challenges Association leaders every day. It’s the calculation every member computes when considering the value of association membership. 

The fundamental questions are: 

“How much am I getting out of my membership?”

“Is it worth the cost both in terms of money and time?”

Members join organizations because they expect to receive value equal to or over the cost. That’s Association membership ROI, plain and simple. 

Among the reasons for joining are:

Networking opportunities

Enhancing knowledge

Belief in the Association’s mission

Networking Opportunities

Members naturally want to meet people who have similar interests. These professional connections can lead to new job opportunities. Networking is often touted as the key to unlocking the “hidden job market”, jobs that are not advertised publicly. While experts disagree on the size of the hidden job market, most workers perceive networking as a key element in advancing one’s career. 

Associations that provide networking opportunities to members will increase the perceived value of membership. These opportunities can include everything from events to messaging applications to membership directories.

Enhancing Knowledge

An Association can serve as a focal point for advancing knowledge in its particular subject area. Members who want to deepen their expertise logically turn to the Association for education. Associations that develop a reputation for being a subject matter knowledge center can attract and retain more Members. This makes demonstrating Association membership ROI much easier.

Belief in the Association’s Mission

A fundamental motivation for members to belong to an Association is a belief in the organization’s mission. Beyond the mere interest in personal gain, Members see the Association as doing good for a wider community and they want to be a part of that.

If the Association fails to deliver on any of these, members could start to question their commitment and may not renew.

Even if members remain loyal, many rely on an employer to reimburse them for Association dues. The employer, therefore, needs to be convinced of Association membership ROI. The member/employee needs to provide evidence that membership ultimately benefits the employer. An Association that falls short in demonstrating Association membership ROI risks missing retention goals.

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