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Which of These Volunteer Trends Will You Try This Year?

Asking for volunteers and really getting the most out of their activity can be a struggle. Everyone feels the “there are only so many hours in a day” sentiment, your members included. It can be difficult for them to commit to yet another regularly scheduled activity - let alone give it their all when it comes after a crazy day at the office.

It becomes quite the conundrum when your association relies on volunteers to provide certain benefits, or even to function. If you can identify with these difficulties, it might be time to rethink your association’s volunteer structure. Take a look at these trends and think about how they could fit into (or even replace!) the ways you currently drum up volunteers:

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Member Acquisition: Think Career Stage, Not Generation

Posted by Krissy Conant


When it comes to member acquisition, it’s helpful to consider the spectrum of the members you want to obtain for your association. Thankfully, several case studies in recent years have been conducted on this very topic and have concluded the importance of acknowledging and acting on the varying needs of different generations.

But what about career stages? With people changing careers more frequently in the last decade, we think it’s vital to consider how to reach your members who vary not by age but by experience. It’s not too uncommon these days for young professionals in their older twenties and early thirties to switch careers into a new field.

Typically, these career stages are typically separated into three types: Young professionals, leadership, and retirees. We’ve decided to focus on the most extreme groups, young professionals and retirees, to see the three biggest differences in member acquisition. Check them out below!  

Difference #1: Time Commitments

Plain and simple, young professionals starting in their careers are typically go-getters. This proactivity usually translates into these individuals being uncommonly busy and focused on being immersed in their career field of choice. But let’s compare that to retirees: Traditionally, retirees are known for having extra time available to dedicate to varying projects of interest.

When you think about this from a member acquisition perspective, that’s a drastic range of time available to go to your association. So, how do you reel in these two groups in terms of member acquisition?

Think tasks forces! By keeping the time commitments shorter as opposed to traditional committees, you’ll appeal to the limited time available for young professionals who want to try and squeeze in your association as well as the retirees who want to try something a little different.

Difference #2: Career Goals

With these varying time commitment comes the question: Where should you focus the time you allot for your career? For young professionals, the standard guiding factor is going to be about expanding your networking. Entering into a new career takes work, no matter your age, as you’re going to want to get ahead of the curb and make those connections.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ve got retirees who are (typically) cutting back from building up their professional network as they’re leaving the workforce. So, what’s our solution?

Start a mentoring program! This is a win-win for both career stages, as it allows for retirees to take their career experience and share it with young professionals looking for guidance and networking in the field. This connection will help foster an appreciation for your association, as it assists both sides and shows a direct benefit of joining your association.

Difference #3: Personal Interests

With such a varying focus on career between these groups, it’s important to focus in on each group’s motivation from a personal perspective versus professional. While each person’s individual interests will obviously vary, there are some similarities when it comes to what type of interests each group will have.

And yes, we are going to say it again: While young professionals are typically very active in their personal life, a huge part of their personal time is also determining their professional direction. However, retirees are typically going to dedicate more time trying out new passion points to find additional interests. What’s the best approach?

Promote and post varying volunteer opportunities! By promoting volunteer positions for varying interests, you’ll be targeting both groups desire to expand on new skill sets. Make sure to pitch these posts in your promotional emails as a benefit for those considering your association.

Racking your brain on innovative ways to bring in new members? To get those recruitment rates up, check out our guide Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition to learn how to create member personas, convert website visitors, and more!

Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition

Topics: member engagement, member retention, membership management, Small Staff Chatter

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