August 09, 2022   |   Vol. 21   |   Issue 8
By Tony Rossell, MGI Senior Vice President

Four Membership Growth Drivers

The 2022 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report highlights our top findings on what drives membership growth. We explored what practices, products, and programs correlate with associations experiencing a rebound this past year and what held back other groups. Let’s look at some of the top drivers for growth.

  1. Adding new members appears to be one of the top drivers of total membership growth. Associations reporting increases in their one-year and five-year membership numbers are significantly more likely to report increases in new member acquisition. Similarly, those reporting declines in the same areas are considerably more likely to report declines in new members.
  2. Providing value to members is another robust and consistent driver of membership growth. Once again, we asked associations, "How compelling is your association’rs value proposition?" Demonstrating a continued upswing, 53% of associations believe their value proposition to be compelling or very compelling (up from 52% in 2021 and 48% in 2020). Associations reporting increases in membership levels and those with a renewal rate of 80% or higher are more likely to believe their value proposition to members is compelling or very compelling.
  3. Funding Marketing is critical to membership growth. Compared to last year’rs research, a more significant percentage of associations have increased budgets, and this funding change occurred in almost all areas of the membership lifecycle. With these marketing budget increases, there is a correlation with better results. A higher percentage of associations reporting increases in membership over the past year and increases in new member acquisition and member renewal have increased their membership marketing budgets.
  4. Reaching Younger Members correlates with growth. We asked individual membership associations what proportion of members fell into each level of the classic generation framework. Associations reporting increases in their five-year membership levels are significantly more likely to report higher ratios of Millennials and Generation X members. In contrast, those reporting declines have a considerably higher proportion of Baby Boomer members.

Also of note in the research is that 30% of respondents said they raised dues this past year. Of particular note, half of the associations that raised dues indicate that it did not negatively affect member renewals (54%). This year’rs report includes many findings on best practices in how associations announce and implement dues increases.

To get your 2022 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report copy, please go to the Knowledge Bank on the Marketing General Incorporated website.

We at MGI want to thank the association professionals who completed our annual survey and shared their data. Your continued participation in this research is appreciated and makes the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report possible.

If you need help with your membership program, let’rs talk. Contact Tony Rossell, Senior Vice President, at or 703-706-0360.

Request a Membership Consultation