MGI Tipster – Volume 11, Issue 4

April 17, 2012   |   Vol. 11   |   Issue 4
First Look at 2012 Membership Benchmarking Results

Membership organizations reported continued improvement in their key membership statistics, according to a preliminary analysis of data for the soon-to-be-released 2012 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.

This year’s survey, which included responses from more than 680 participating associations, found that the major indicators of membership health—total membership, new members acquired, and membership renewals—all showed continuing improvements from the previous year’s benchmarking report.

A total of 52% of respondents said they had recorded an overall increase in members over the previous 12 months. This is the second year of reported membership increases since the low of 36% who reported membership growth in 2010 (see chart). Numbers may not total 100% due to rounding.

Percentage Change in Entire Membership Over Past ONE Year
2009 2010 2011 2012
Increase 45% 36% 49% 52%
No Change 16% 14% 16% 16%
Decreased 35% 47% 34% 29%
Not Sure 5% 3% 2% 3%

Growth in new member recruitment appears to be a big driver in membership growth. Of responding association executives, 60% report the acquisition of new members increased over the past year. These results come on top of a strong 2011 when 57% of respondents said that they had an increase in new members.

Percentage Change in NEW-Member Acquisition Over Past Year
2009 2010 2011 2012
Increase 49% 42% 56% 60%
No Change 22% 20% 21% 17%
Decreased 21% 26% 16% 14%
Not Sure 10% 12% 8% 9%

Finally, the survey found that membership renewals had a more positive outcome this past year, with 35% of respondents saying that they have had an increase in overall renewal rates.

Percentage Change in Member RENEWALS Over Past Year
2009 2010 2011 2012
Increase 22% 21% 32% 35%
No Change 39% 27% 37% 33%
Decreased 31% 44% 24% 22%
Not Sure 9% 8% 7% 10%

The continued increases in each of these three key membership statistics speaks to the improving health and performance of membership associations.

The final report will include in-depth analyses of many topics including:

  • The effectiveness and usage of social media in membership marketing.
  • The proportion of members using various products and programs offered by associations.
  • The global distribution of membership by continent.
  • The association management software (AMS) in use.
  • The techniques used to engage new members.

All of the data points will be cross tabulated against the membership outcomes that associations are experiencing.

How to Find Out More

The 2012 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report will include dozens of key findings that can provide insights and new directions for membership marketing programs. If you would like a copy of the report when it is released in May, please contact either, MGI President Rick Whelan ( or Senior Vice President Tony Rossell ( Survey participants will receive a printed copy of the report.

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