Bridging the Generational Gap: How to Attract Members of All Ages 

How to Attract Members of All Ages

August 23, 2023

As professionals advance in their careers and fresh recruits enter the workforce, the needs, interests, and aspirations of association members evolve. Associations must remain attuned to these shifts to ensure they remain relevant. With new generations, the methods to attract association members must change. Today, if you want to attract those who will have a longstanding membership, it is crucial to understand the distinct engagement preferences across different generations. 

Understanding the generations

With the distinct attributes of each generation comes an array of engagement preferences. Having a strategic alignment that resonates across diverse preferences, as well as digital platforms, is crucial to attracting new members. These groups make up 93% of the workforce combined, with Millennials leading the charge at 35% and Gen-X not far behind at 33%. While Gen-Z stands at 5%, they are the next generation to begin filtering into the workforce and should not be overlooked. Baby Boomers remain strong with 25% still working, and their experience should be considered a huge asset. Understanding what each generation desires requires an understanding of their various career goals, as well as their professional strengths.  


How to attract them

When you're managing a membership program, it can be hard to meet the needs of multiple generations and keep everyone happy. The good news is that there are ways to bridge the generation gap and attract all types of members. Here are a few tips to get started:  

  • Tap into the talent of younger members. If you have young people in your association, make sure to utilize their perspective by asking them for help with projects or with events, especially when the goal is to attract younger members, and vice versa with older generations.  
  • Plan intergenerational activities. You don’t need to organize an event just for millennials; try planning events and activities that will appeal to all generations, keeping the main preferences and hesitancies of each in mind as much as possible. Then make it clear that everyone is welcome. 
  • Avoid stereotyping. Make sure you create messaging that ensures all members and potential members feel they are free to bring their whole selves to the table. Don’t assume that the norm for each generation is true for all – Gen-Xers may be more frugal than their parents were at their age, while baby boomers can be more tech-savvy than you might expect. 
  • Provide opportunities for mentorship. Younger generations may be more comfortable with a personal mentoring relationship rather than group events or seeking someone out on their own, so consider building and advertising for a mentorship program where they can be paired with older members to help learn the ropes of your industry. 

Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each generation has its own strengths, and no matter which one you're trying to reach, you need to find ways of tapping into their unique perspectives in order to effectively communicate with them. This means we might have to think outside the box if we want our message to resonate with all of them. 



Multi-generational associations are becoming more common, and for a good reason. They can be more efficient, effective, and innovative because they have access to a broader range of skills and knowledge. Multi-generational associations can bring together people from various backgrounds to share experiences and perspectives, making each other stronger. So, why not take advantage of bridging the gap? 



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