5 steps your association needs to take NOW to replace retiring members

More than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day — and that pace will continue every day for the next 20 years. That’s bad news for most associations, especially as many groups are finding that new members are harder than ever to recruit.

So what can you do?

1) Take a deep breath and calculate how many members you need to recruit to replace retiring members over the next five years.

2) Share that number with your leadership and staff. You have to look at this problem head on if you’re going to weather the change.

3) Now look at the differences in annual membership renewals between young members and graying members. Many associations find that long-time members are reliable renewers. When you take them out of the data and look at just your members under 40, the picture may be very different. You can go a step further and look at data on conference attendance, purchasing habits, and other involvement data you can segment.

4) Ask the tough questions: what changes does your association need to make NOW to attract and retain new members, especially those who came of age in the era of Google? The days when association membership was the  gateway to networking and industry/professional information are over. What do you offer that prospects can’t get any other way? How are you connecting members online? Is your social media program vibrant, engaging, and personal or do your Twitter and Facebook feeds read like dry corporate announcements?

Will your retiring members head off to play bingo or do you have a plan to keep them involved and engaged with your association?

5) Now for the good news: baby boomers are expected to radically redefine retirement. What will that mean for your association? Consider what retirement looks like in your field. Do most members take the gold watch and head to Florida? Or are they staying engaged professionally even as they leave the workforce? You probably have an engagement strategy for new members. It’s time to develop an engagement strategy for retiring members.That could mean special retiree memberships, but it also means creating meaningful roles and content for these members.

What is your organization doing today to prepare for this unprecedented wave of retirement?

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