Contributor / generations / leadership / Made By Others

Growing and Engaging Membership for all Generations

***Developed from a keynote presentation researched by Jared Kligerman and delivered by Greg Witz **

About a month ago the Association Management team at MM attended an extremely practical and informative CSAE workshop on engaging and growing membership.

The workshop was presented by Greg Witz, President of Witz Education. While the workshop focused on growing membership and membership engagement, the takeaway from this presentation could easily be applied to sales, marketing and communication techniques.

The speaker broke down membership categories into generations and demonstrated benefits that these individuals might seek from membership and obstacles associations may encounter when dealing with each of these generations:

Silent Generation: 1925-1945


  • When they first joined associations, it was the association that generally controlled the information that was being shared and not its members.
  • Need to know the value before signing up to be a member.
  • They must build rapport and personal relationships.

Their Likes:

  • They prefer receiving information in small doses.
  • Loyalty programs work well for this generation.

The Boomer: 1946-1964 – They are the majority of membership base in today’s associations!


  • Came from a time when learning was memorizing and regurgitating information.
  • Since networking is valued, new forms of communication technology can be hard to adopt.

Their Likes:

  • Good customer service. When you are resolving their issues it is important to demonstrate accountability.
  • Strong, loyal relationships. It is important to try to get to know some of those members by first name.

Gen X: 1965-1980 


  • They can be reluctant purchasers. Therefore, you need to prove products and services deliver results.

Their Likes:

  • They value collaboration and teamwork as well as choice. This generation may prefer to choose from a variety membership options.
  • Loyalty and relationships are less important than both choice and convenience.
  • They favour informal and casual communication.

Gen Y: 1981-2000


  • Since information is immediate to them, this generation will shop around for the best value before making a purchasing decision.

Their Likes:

  • They like teamwork. Social media can be used as a means of collaboration.
  • Good customer service
  • They prefer customization. As a result, a la carte membership packages may be a way of providing value to your association in their eyes.

Gen Z: 2000-Present


  • This generation has always grown up surrounded by immediate information and technology. They always do research before considering making a purchase.
  • They are often not brand loyal.

Their Likes:

  • Technology.  Platforms such as social media and email marketing are an effective way of communicating with this generation.
  • They prefer flexibility as well as customization.

Regardless of what generation these members fall within, members will only join an association when the value proposition is evident. By conducting member satisfaction surveys and market research, associations can gain insightful information of what products/services they should offer.

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