Monday, July 29, 2013

Boomer Impact on Associations

I was visiting with an old friend last week. He retired a few years back. 

He had been really active in his small, niche national professional association. Active as in president, newsletter editor, national conference chair/host.

I asked if he was still involved.
  • “Well,” he said, “Not as much. It’s different. They changed their name to be more inclusive .... thinking that would bring in members to replace those who no longer had jobs in our field. I think that has killed the association. And, with the downsizing of our profession, fewer people are joining and attending meetings because their employers are now longer paying dues and registration fees.”
  • “The convention now has two distinct groups attending: those still working who attend the sessions and us retired folks who come to socialize with old friends. I think this may be the last one we attend.”
  • “We had a very active professional network. I can count the number of times someone has contacted me for questions about the profession or association: zero.”
My friend is still fairly young but I sense he feels “shut out” by his professional organization.

I doubt that he and his association are unique as America’s Baby Boomers begin to retire.

Over the next 15 years, someone turns 65 every 8 seconds. And, as my friend demonstrates, many are likely to be members of associations.

What is your organization doing to get prepared for the post Boomer era?
  • Can we, and if so how, find ways to replace them as members, volunteers, leaders?
  • Can we, and if so how, find ways to call on their expertise about the professor and association?
  • Can we, and if so how, find ways to keep them engaged if only to get their fees from attending a national conference?
The Boomer retirement wave is here. What is your association doing to adjust?

2 comments:

  1. Steve,
    I think your first bullet point hit the most important aspect.

    'fewer people are joining and attending meetings because their employers are now longer paying dues and registration fees'

    If a person is a part of an association only because it is free to them, then I think that demonstrates the value they see in the association.

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  2. Thanks Tom.

    You make an excellent point: if people don't renew when the employer stops paying dues, what does it say about the value of our associations?

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