MGI Tipster Volume 9, Issue 6

June 14, 2010   |   Vol. 9   |   Issue 6

MGI Releases 2010 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report

For the second consecutive year, Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) has commissioned and published the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report to survey the strategies associations most often use to grow their memberships. Over 400 associations participated in the 2010 survey which is being released this month.

Marketing General is pleased to share some of the highlights of the 2010 report in the next two editions of the Tipster. The report offers insights that can be applied to several steps in the MGI Membership Lifecycle—recruitment, engagement, and renewal.

If you would like a full copy of the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, you may also download it by using this link.

This month, we look at the overall membership trends that associations reported in the survey. The study shows that it has been a particularly challenging year for associations to get and keep members.

The MGI Membership Lifecycle

2010 versus 2009

Comparing results from the 2009 and 2010 surveys, associations this year reported that they were having trouble acquiring new members, renewing the members that they had, and growing the overall membership count compared to last year.

Membership renewals saw the most substantial drop-off compared to last year. In 2009, 31 percent of responding associations reported that renewal rates for their organizations had decreased in the previous year. In 2010, 44 percent of associations reported a decline in renewal rates. That’s a 41 percent jump from the year before.

Chart 1

On the positive side, membership acquisition this past year showed more resiliency than renewals. A total of 62 percent of associations still reported that new member input in 2010 has either increased or remained the same from the previous year. But this is still lower than the 71 percent of associations who reported this in 2009.

Chart 2

Clearly, when renewal rates are down and new member input is declining, it will come as no surprise that total membership for associations is also reported to be down from 2009.

This year 57 percent of all associations reported that membership was still up over the past five years, but only 36 percent said that membership numbers were up for the past year.

Chart 3Chart 4

The membership story is even more challenging for trade associations.

In the research, we asked respondents to identify their association by their membership structure—trade or organizational, individual, or both.

When we cross-tabulated structure with membership growth, we found that 43 percent of individual membership associations had experienced membership growth in the past year, but only 26 percent of trade associations saw growth.

Chart 4-B

In next month’s Tipster, we will look at some of the underlying challenges that have driven these results over the past year.

Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report Background

The Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report is designed to help associations better understand the strategies and tactics most often used to recruit members, engage new members, renew existing members, and reinstate former members.

Over 400 associations participated in the survey and shared their membership practices and their opinions on what works best for each stage of the membership lifecycle.

Besides cataloging membership practices, this Benchmarking Report also takes these practices and cross-tabulates them with the membership results the associations are experiencing. Are new member counts up or down? Are renewal rates above or below average? Has membership grown in the past year? How about in the past five years?

The comparison of practices and outcomes in membership provides strong directional information on what tactics and strategies might be added or dropped to help improve a membership program.

Get Your FREE Copy of the Report


If you would like a full copy of the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, you may also download it by using this link.

Download a copy of the full report here

Get Help with Your Membership

If you would like to talk about how your organization can improve your membership results, please contact Tony Rossell at the address below.

Tony Rossell
Marketing General Inc.
Direct: 703.706.0360

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