How to Attract Millennials to Your Association


You’ve probably heard a lot about this generation. But who are they really and how can you make your association attractive to this next wave of prospective members?

Millennials do not remember a time without computers, cell phones or the internet. Social media is part of their daily lives and just another way to remain in constant communication with the world around them. This has allowed the generation to develop an almost innate technological expertise that has never been seen before. With ease and speed, millennials are able to efficiently multitask and consume large amounts of information in short periods of time.

The millennial generation might seem like an anomaly, but it represents the future of industry and you need to jump onto the bandwagon of progress. As an organization, you constantly need to be recruiting new members who are active in the industry, to both grow your association and replace those who retire or drop out. You need fresh volunteers who can bring diversity of ideas and fresh thinking to your organization.


Millennials are tech-savvy and forward thinking, but they are also young and just starting out in their careers. That’s where your opportunity lies. Advertise and position your association as an organization where millennials can find mentors, source job leads and grow their social and professional networks.

While your annual conference is always a great opportunity for members to connect in person, millennials will take it a step further. They will use the conference to meet people they’ve only interacted with online, build those in-person relationships and then continue to strengthen those relationships through further online communication throughout the year.

Remember, this is a generation that went to school each day and returned home to continue the conversations and interactions they had with their peers that day through texting and social media posts.  Every association has committees that need to work together remotely to get things done. Millennials have been practicing this their entire lives; their innate talents can benefit you.

Growing up, millennials talked to their friends, ate meals and texted…all at the same time. Who better to help your organization than someone who can handle multiple tasks and priorities? You need members who can work full-time jobs, juggle a personal life and accomplish goals.

So how can you recruit these great members? Here are several ways to get you started.

  1. It’s all about social media. If you’re not on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as a bare minimum, you need to create an account right away. LinkedIn is especially appropriate for businesses, as it acts as a social media platform geared towards fostering a professional networking community. There you can post photos, ask questions, share industry news and more. Your organization can become a thought leader on this network by sharing the latest news and advice. It can also drive members and potential members to your website for more details. Which brings us to the next point…
  2. Have a mobile-friendly website. Millennials are so good at multitasking, they’ll probably be searching for information on the go, which means you’ll want them to be able to easily navigate your website from their smartphones. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, not only will you look like an organization that’s stuck in the dinosaur age, but you run the risk of losing out on a specific market of prospective members. Having an outdated website is not attractive to anyone who wants to join a cutting-edge industry network, but luckily it is something that can easily be improved.
  3. Offer a variety of challenging volunteer opportunities. Highlight the opportunities for creativity and collaboration. Millennials will rise to the challenge if given the freedom to devise their own path to success. Associations can use this to their advantage.
  4. Emphasize the constant and immediate interaction among members. If you have a members-only email group that can be customized to provide immediate notifications, highlight this feature. Millennials are used to instant gratification and juggling multiple projects on a daily basis.


Like the Baby Boomers and Generation X before them, members of the millennial generation have their own strengths. The key is to understand how those strengths can be most effectively used to benefit and grow your association.

Gabrielle Copperwheat is Director of Operations for CMA Association Management. If you would like to leverage CMA’s experience in helping associations maximize membership and engagement, we’d love to chat. Please contact us at 800-852-4269 or email us at

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