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June 19, 2019 Attracting and Retaining Gen Z Members to Your Association Sergio Garcia - Marketing Manager

Attracting and Retaining Gen Z Members to Your Association

Successfully attracting younger professionals to your association requires two things: 

First, identify techniques that will get you results. 

Second, dedicate resources into executing and scaling those techniques. 

Now you’re probably wondering what strategies can you use to attract and retain Gen Z members to your association?   

We’ll show you easy, actionable steps you can take.  


Gen Z is made up of individuals born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. Growing up with numerous devices at their fingertips, they have a constant appetite for content.   

They can spend up to ten hours a day immersing themselves in content across a variety of channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. They also place importance on the NOW Effect: information must be mobile, transparent and delivered in real-time.  

Gen Z brings new energy, ideas, and opportunities for today’s associationsbut with this generational shift comes a demand for a new set of tools and strategic thinking in order to drive growth 

Attracting and retaining Gen Z members to your association requires taking on a more holistic approach to meet their shifting demands. 

To begin, you need to understand their view of associations. 

According to research from Personify, Gen Z do see value in joining an association. However, they’re not exactly clear what the benefits are and, as a result, they don’t see strong ROI.  

Basically, though Gen Z do believe there is value in joining an association they don't actually experience it after joining. 

In our new whitepaper, A Complete Guide to Attracting and Retaining Gen Z Members to Your Association, we share in-depth research, strategies, and real world examples of how to grow your membership with the next generation of professionals. 

In this blog I'll share some key talking points from the guide. Effectively attracting and retaining Gen Z members to your association entails understanding what influences their purchasing decisions and what they value. 


Attracting and retaining Generation Z members to your association requires a comprehensive understanding of their values. They are constantly connected and value authentic connections with the brands they engage with. Also, they value peer recommendations more than any other generation before them. Authenticity and collaborating with your association's existing members are key to attracting Generation Z to your membership.

No matter how great your sales team may be, nothing drives a final purchase faster than a recommendation from a trusted friend, colleague, or family member.  

  • 42% of young members said they joined an association based on a personal interaction with a member. 

Despite Gen Z being so in tune with online content, they still strongly value authentic connections with people.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. They live in a world where videos of people reacting to trending content or unboxing new purchases has millions of views, and this type of content has massive engagement. 

Gen Z is constantly connected and are not shy about sharing their genuine opinions on any and everything. This behavior influences the way they navigate purchasing decisionsAll generations hold some level of value for reviews and recommendations, but it can be said that Generation Z value them even more because of the nature of their online culture.  

Many B2C companies understand this and influencer marketing is a staple of modern marketing because of it. So how can your association leverage this information? 

Member Influencers 

Identify younger members within your association that may be willing to become brand ambassadors.   

Once you have the right members, it’s important to communicate on the right channels. Most associations simply post static text-based testimonials on their website; that approach will not resonate with Gen Z. To get your brand ambassadors in front of a younger audience online, you should consider turning to a specific social media app.  

Say hello to Instagram 

The photo-sharing app has evolved into one of the most popular social media platforms today. Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms:  

  • About 2-7% of all posts (sproutsocial) 

  • Also, 64% of 18-29 year olds use Instagram.   

But, let’s get specific to associations -  

  • 46% of young members said they use this social media platform to keep up with associations

  • 76said it’s an effective way to stay in touch 

Some associations, like the American Marketing Association, are already using this channel to attract and retain Gen Z members to their association and have their own hashtags going on the social photo sharing platform.  

Encourage or incentivize young members to promote your association on Instagram 

Ask younger members who attend your organization’s conferences to take selfies and post them along with hashtags to their own Instagram profile.  

You can go so far as to have a selfie photo booth at your conferences (complete with silly costume pieces of course!) to encourage attendees to take photos and post them to Instagram. 

Once you have the right brand ambassadors on board, consider expanding on this approach through content, multiple channels, and retention initiatives.  

In order to truly attract and retain Gen Z members to your association you need to engage them through their preferred channels. It falls on you to provide an engaging experience that meets their expectations.  

To learn more ways you can use Instagram to attract and retain Gen Z members to your association download the full guide!


Creating dynamic and relevant content is essential for growing your membership with Generation Z.

Most associations do well with creating useful content that help their audience navigate their education and career.   

However, more times than not associations limit themselves to company blogs and articles. Research has found that company blogs are the least relevant channel for generation z (Campaign Monitor).   

When you consider the channels they most frequent, it makes sense why blogs aren’t popular with them.  

Instagram is one of their preferred social media channels to engage with associations and content. Additionally, research across multiple studies show that Gen Z use YouTube the most:

  • 85% of Gen Z say they use the platform 

  • 32% say they use YouTube more than any other social media site  

  • 72% say they use Instagram placing it in second   

Look at your current content through the user perspective. Factor in some of the key attributes of this demographic that has been detailed so far:

  • They're not clear on the benefits of being a member
  • They value authentic connections with the brands they engage with
  • They value peer to peer recommendations/endorsements
  • They spend most of their time online on visual heavy social media channels

When you put the pieces together it paints the picture of what direction your content should go in if you want to effectively engage this demographic....

To get an in-depth Gen Z content strategy, and so much more, download "A Complete Guide to Attracting and Retaining Gen Z Members" today!

This comprehensive guide covers:

  • Who exactly makes up Gen Z
  • What influences their purchasing decisions
  • Content Marketing tips and examples for Gen Z
  • Their expectations for personalization
  • Gen Z's preferred online channels 
  • Their value for Cause Marketing
  • What they expect from your website

Download the complete guide today!

attracting and retaining Gen Z members to your association