The 2020 Membership Detour: Resetting Recruitment for the Future



Through our Thrive vs. Survive webinar series, MultiView is exploring how associations can adapt in the “new normal” to outwit, outperform and outlast against all odds.

Our latest session, More than Hype: Deliver Value that Exceeds Expectations, is available to view on-demand now.



Membership is, of course, the literal lifeblood of an association. After all, that’s why they’re called “membership organizations.” Over the last decade, these organizations have generally experienced steady to growing membership numbers. The MGI 2020 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey, which was conducted in January (prior to the COVID outbreak), found membership had increased at 42% of associations last year, compared to just 27% that reported a decrease.

But then came the detour.

By the end of the first quarter of 2020 it became clear that any forecasts for the year could be tossed out. Everything changed.

New research conducted by MultiView in October found about two-thirds (65%) of associations have suffered membership declines this year. If there’s a silver lining to that stat, it’s that 80% of those say the reduction was only 20% or less. Nonetheless, any reduction is counter to the progress we want and envision for our associations. So, what now?

A renewed focus on benefits and value offered by associations was already a trend, spurred in recent years by competition like online platforms and groups. But now this focus on offering value has become mission critical.

Despite this apparent need, the aforementioned MGI report found less than half of organizations described their value proposition to prospective members as “compelling” or “very compelling.” In today’s environment, your association’s value prop can be nothing short of compelling. A strong mission, good benefits and quality offerings are important, but it takes more to prove your association is worth buying into.

As members raise their expectations for value and ROI, it’s time for organizations to deliver value beyond those expectations. That’s why MultiView focused on More than Hype: Deliver Value that Exceeds Expectations in Episode 2 of our ongoing webinar series.

This 30-minute session uncovers what potential members want, how to expand your benefits virtually and attract new members, what other associations are doing to increase their value and membership, as well as important guidelines for conducting your own organizational SWOT Analysis.

membership recruitment episode 2

The full recording of More than Hype: Deliver Value that Exceeds Expectations can be viewed here.

Naturally, membership recruitment only provides its full potential when paired with retaining those members, so Episode 3 of our ongoing Thrive vs. Survive webinar series will home in on membership retention. The Ultimate Agility Test: What Your Membership Numbers are Telling You will feature a roundtable discussion with three leaders from associations that have upped their game when it comes to keeping members engaged and renewing their memberships. Additionally, you will take away:

  • What realistic expectations you should have when it comes to membership retention
  • Why members decide to stay or go
  • What questions to ask your members for critical feedback
  • How to keep members engaged for the long run

Register now to grab a seat at the table for this important discussion.

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