Many associations see that their most at-risk members, the ones least likely to renew, are new members. But some new members do engage with the association, and they go on to become engaged 3-7 year members. At the end of the membership cycle, we tend to see engagement fall off again among long-time members. But some long-time members choose to stay engaged, and this is what they say engages them:
- Long-time members tend to be very advanced in their career. They lead teams, big projects, or organizations and they deal with many complex problems. Problems that fewer people before them have solved. They know that there probably isn’t a course that will provide them answers to their thorny problems rather they hope their association network can give them some ideas, direction, what-not-to-do’s, or support.
- When you are the only one who does what you do for your organization, it is lonely. It is lonely at the top as they say. Many long-time members report they stay involved for the camaraderie. It is validating to hear that others experience the same things you do and feel the same way you do.
- Long-time members often feel like one of the club; they feel a deep sense of belonging. Peer pressure plays a part too because long-time members articulate that, professionals like me are active members of associations like this, or we volunteer, or we don’t miss a conference.
- Perhaps the association helped get their career off to a great start, and now it is time to give back. Giving back is meaningful when we are advancing the profession or industry. It is also meaningful when we help even just one other person.
- For some long-time members, the association no longer holds value for them personally, but they continue to engage minimally making sure their staff participates and gets value.
- Some professionals want to serve on boards for many reasons and stay engaged with successive volunteer opportunities on their path to the board.