An Australasian-wide study conducted by Survey Matters into membership of professional associations has found that a stable or increasing demand for professional associations is predicted by an overwhelming majority of members. This is very good news for the sector. And in even better news – the increase in demand is more likely to be forecast by young members – despite industry concerns around difficulties recruiting and retaining members in the younger age brackets.
But, there are signs that the traditional model of professional associations is reaching its “use by date”. Whilst members still join for networking opportunities and the credibility that membership affords them, the study found that their main reason for joining is for access to relevant information - they are looking to their association to be the leading, authoritative source of news about their profession. Additionally, the study found that members also want their association to promote their profession to the general public and advocate for qualified, accredited professionals.
The findings also show a definite need for clear segmentation in the way that professional associations deliver their messages to members. Age, but more importantly career stage, plays a big part in how members want to receive information and interact with other members. “One size does not fit all” was a dominant message that came out of the results.
No longer just providers of member services and discounts, professional associations need to look to the practices of other leading service providers and adapt their strategies to suit. Members want access to recent, relevant and credible information about their profession, they want quality professional development and accreditation programs that enhance their career prospects and standing within their profession. The professional association of the future needs to be a journalist, an editor, a digital content manager, a researcher, a trainer and a curator – gathering, synthesising and disseminating quality information and learning resources in a timely and appropriate manner.
About the Study
Survey Matters conducted this research independently to meet the need for sector wide research. Respondents in the Associations Matter: 2013 State of the Sector Study for Professional Associations were drawn from the members of 23 participating professional associations, across a diverse range of industries. The study was conducted using a quantitative on-line instrument, and was distributed by email only between April 1 and 31 May, 2013 The findings contain analysis based on 7,749 responses, received from a distribution of 48,129 surveys.
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About Survey Matters
Survey Matters was formed in 2010, and provides a fresh approach to gathering feedback. We believe that the people who contribute to your organisation matter. That their feedback matters. And that their input into your organisation - its direction, strategy and performance - is an integral part of your success.
Stakeholder surveys provide the most effective way to gather this feedback. When done correctly, the information and ideas generated enable you to develop strategies that increase engagement and retention, improve products and services, create loyalty and build community.
Survey Matters are the experts in member-based research. Our Member Surveys are tailored to suit your strategy and objectives and created with the outcomes in mind to ensure we deliver information you can act on. For help with your stakeholder survey visit us at www.surveymatters.com.au or call us on +61 3 9452 0101.