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September 18, 2020 How Associations can Grow Membership in a Pandemic Sergio Garcia - Marketing Manager

How Associations can Grow Membership in a Pandemic

Right now, many professional associations are faced with the challenge of fueling member growth and retention amidst a global pandemic, an economic slump, and a volatile job market. As COVID-19 continues to plague society, the economy and job market struggles along; leading professionals within your niche to tighten their pockets while trying to navigate their career during these challenging times. 

We created a guide, based on thorough research, that provides a complete analysis on what currently influences the decision to join, and how to use this information to strategically fuel growth during the pandemic. In this blog post I'll share some of the insights detailed in the complete guide.

To understand how to fuel growth in a volatile market, you first need to understand the big picture. 


The Economic Slump

The reality is COVID-19 and the economy are intertwined now. If COVID-19 case numbers fade, more people can resume their lives – get back to work, spend, and hire staff. However, with new cases increasing in the US and other countries recently, it impacts how long recovery will take.

On July 16th, the US reported 75,600 new cases. On August 6th India recorded 62,170 new cases in just 24 hours. On August 11th Brazil announced 52,160 new cases. The same day, the UK announced 1,148 confirmed new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total since June 21st – and the list goes on.

In the US, at least 21 states have paused their reopening plans in the wake of the recent resurgence of COVID-19.

1.8 million jobs were added back to the market in July, and that is good news. However, it shows that recovery has significantly slowed down when compared to the 4.8 million jobs added in June.


Additionally, a survey from Cornell University showed that 31% of workers who were recently rehired have lost their jobs for a second time during the pandemic. Another 26% have been told that they might get laid off again.

I know this may paint a grim picture for hope in growing your organization’s membership, but that’s not the case.

What matters is understanding your community and what influences their decision to join.

The Roadblock to Membership Growth: No ROI

The main goal of any organization is to provide value for their audience. Yet, conducting some research online turns up multiple sources showing that professionals (especially younger professionals) don’t experience enough value in member benefits to justify the dues.

When asked about their experience with the association in which they’re the most active, almost half of young members, Millennials and Gen Z, responding to Personify’s recently published Young Members 2.0 report agreed that their experiences with associations have been “underwhelming”. More concerning:

  • Only 40 percent of young members report their experience is “worth the dues (I) pay to be a member.”
  • Almost half of young members agree with the statement “There isn’t a strong return on investment when it comes to participating in associations.”
  • One in three young members and two out of five Millennials agree with the statement “I have no idea how being in associations actually benefits me.”

With an economic crisis that seems to be here to stay for the long term, the cost of dues becomes an even bigger roadblock for your community.

So putting the pieces together - a volatile job market and a lack of perceived value in member benefits - how can you grow membership during the pandemic?

Jobs and career development are at top of mind for millions of professionals across a variety of industries right now.

Growing Membership Through Career Development Resources

Even though economic recovery has slowed down, job openings in the US increased by 617,000 in July to 6.6 million, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released Wednesday. 

Which means companies are hiring, creating a real opportunity for your organization to leverage your job board to provide value for your professional audience. 

Job openings will only continue to increase over the next year as regions attempt to implement their reopening plans to stabilize the economy. 

Career development is the most important member benefit to your professional audience right now. 



Your career center will play a pivotal role in growing membership during the pandemic. But, to make the most of your career center you need to know which industries are hiring right now so you can attract employers to advertise on your job board. 

In our latest guide "How Associations can Grow Membership During a Pandemic" we list what industries are hiring right now, what job titles are in demand, and what industries will take longer to recover. 

These insights will inform how you can leverage your career center; whether you're in a position to start heavily marketing your career center to drive advertising orders from employers, and what job titles to focus on. 

In our latest guide you'll get:

  • A comprehensive analysis of the job market
  • Key findings on why professionals don't join
  • The #1 reason professionals would consider joining
  • A list of industries that are hiring right now
  • The top 10 most in demand job titles 
  • A breakdown of industries that will take longer to recover
  • The key tools needed to provide value and fuel growth
    • For professionals and employers alike

Download your guide on "How Associations can Grow Membership in a Pandemic".


How associations can grow membership in a pandemic