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The global recession that began in 2009, and the slow-moving economic recovery since, severely affected most membership organizations. Recovery, however, appears to be continuing as the findings show in the fourth annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.
More than half of the associations surveyed said membership has increased over the past 12 months, and most relied on new member acquisition to drive overall association growth.
Preliminary data analyzed for the soon-to-be released report, reveals that 52 percent of associations surveyed experienced member growth (Chart 1).
At the same time, 60 percent of those surveyed said new member acquisition increased during the past year. These results come on top of a strong 2011 when 57 percent of respondents said the number of new members had increased (Chart 2).
Significantly fewer – 35 percent – reported an increase in member renewals, though this was an improvement from the 32 percent recorded the year before.
Both acquisitions and renewals showed steady improvement in 2012, with member growth bouncing back from a low of 36 percent in 2010.
In fact, this year’s survey found that the three major indicators of membership health – total membership, new members acquired, and membership renewals – all showed continuing improvements from the previous year’s benchmarking report.
Now in its fourth year, the 2012 Benchmarking Report will be released in May by Marketing General Inc. Some 680 associations responded to the 2012 survey – the most in survey history – enabling extensive cross tabulations expected to reveal considerable insights when the study is completed.
The study will present in-depth analyses of topics including:
- The use of social media and its effectiveness in membership marketing;
- Techniques that associations use to engage new members;
- Member usage of programs and products that associations offer;
- The association management software that membership organizations have adopted.
The 2012 benchmark study is set against a background of continued recovery from the three-year economic downturn that sharply impacted the health of many membership organizations.
In 2010, nearly half of the associations surveyed revealed that their membership had slipped. This year’s survey shows that by 2012 more than half of membership organizations increased their numbers.
Research for the report was conducted by MGI research director Adina Wasserman, PhD. The report was co-authored by Wasserman, SVP Tony Rossell and VP Erik Schonher.