July 2, 2015
Capitalize on the latest round of new professionals entering your industry
The class of 2015 has just graduated and they are ready to enter the workforce! Is your association ready for them?
Recruiting the next generation of members, especially in the face of emerging technology, can be quite the task. Your current members are not going to be jumping ship for a LinkedIn group, but young professionals are constantly finding new ways to network and engage professionally. The challenge lies not only in how to recruit them to your association, but in how to keep them. Simply recruiting new members is no longer sufficient; engaging those members on a regular basis is now imperative.
Here are a few ways to attract young professionals to your association (and keep them):
- Publicize and promote efforts on social media. Young professionals are on social media. You should be too. This is a great opportunity, not just for promotion, but for engagement. Show your association’s value to a young professional by demonstrating how you can be a source for industry connections, job openings, education, and even entertainment. This is your chance to connect to them on a more personal level and become a part of their everyday life.
- Engage through local, community-focused events. Try a unique venue. Provide a little food and a cocktail. Young professionals are driven by community-focused events, which provide associations with a unique opportunity to recruit them as members. After all, the purpose of an association is to organize a group of people for a joint purpose. Furthermore, young professionals typically express their support and appreciation for causes in ways that aren’t necessarily monetary. What better way to show support than by volunteering time to a cause? Cue association membership! FACT: 43% of Millennials actively volunteer or are members of a community organization.
- Provide leadership opportunities. Young professionals want to be involved and they want to lead. Now. Create a YP board or committee, or a non-voting board seat for example. This provides an opportunity for YP’s to become involved and shape the future of your association directly from the perspective of those you are trying to recruit! Get your members involved early and they are more likely to become long-term advocates of your organization.
- Give them their own “thing”. If you let them, they will tell you how they want to be recruited and engaged in your association. Kellen client NYWICI has been successful using this tactic. For example, have them plan happy hours with speakers they want to hear, or create book clubs around books in the industry they want to read. This will give them options that they want to participate in, and will give you the future insight of how they want to be engaged.
- Keep your website up-to-date & make it mobile friendly. Young professionals, especially those recently graduated, are looking for information on their industry, and they are looking to become connected to the right people within that industry. There is no better place for them to look than your association’s website, but say goodbye to your credibility if your website is out of date. Keep in mind that about 90% of Americans have a mobile phone, and more people than ever are using it to access the internet.
There are many reasons for young professionals to join your association, but above all, if you want to grab the attention of the next generation of business leaders, you must be willing to adapt. Embrace technology, don’t fight it, and let them help build an association they want to be a part of.
Do you have any tactics for recruiting young professionals that you have found to be helpful?