The evolution of member benefit priorities throughout the career journey

A recent Community Brands study shows that members rank the priority of benefits differently as they move through their careers. Is your association ready to meet their changing needs?

As an association professional, you likely think about how your members prioritize the benefits your association provides them. But do you consider how their priorities change throughout their careers and their relationship with your organization?

The recent Community Brands Member Engagement and Loyalty Study takes a close look at member benefits from multiple perspectives, including member career stage. The study’s findings suggest that members join organizations for different reasons than why they stay. And the reasons they stay change as members move through their careers.

The study shows that members who are early in their career are more interested in benefits including training and job opportunities. Those later in their career are more likely to value code of ethics and advocacy over training. All segments list industry information as a top three priority.

Looking at multiple data points together, the study shows how the importance of various member benefits changes throughout the member journey – both through the member lifecycle and career stage. For example, members tend to initially join their organization for networking, socializing, job opportunities, and certifications, but networking and socializing quickly become less important. Over time, code of ethics, industry information, representing interests, and training grow in importance.

These changes over time in what members value most suggest an opportunity for
organizations in their acquisition and retention efforts: to provide more targeted content
and services to help members as they move through the member and career journey.

To keep members around for the long haul it’s important to continually evaluate your organizational strategy to ensure you’re providing value throughout their member journey. Consider what your members are doing and what they may be looking for from your organization in each phase of their career.

Once you’ve thought through what members are looking for in each stage of their careers, you can begin to apply that knowledge to your member programs, services, and communications. For example, here are six ways to support members through various stages of the career journey and ultimately improve member acquisition and retention:

        • Reach new members early in their careers. The Member Engagement and Loyalty Study found that the best time to attract new members is early in their career stage (as a student or between one and five years into their career). As you develop content for attracting prospective members – such as tip sheets, industry news, reports, or information about legislative issues affecting the profession – consider weighing it more heavily toward the early career stage segment.

      • Consider your pricing model. Price can be a barrier to joining, especially for those early in their careers. Think about offering a budget-friendly quarterly or monthly payment option.
      • Re-think your programs and services. Take a close look at your member offerings and programs to see how they map back to what your members want most in each stage of their careers. For example, as you onboard new members, be sure to highlight networking opportunities, learning opportunities, career resources, and key content that can help throughout their career journey.
      • Ask for feedback. Don’t wait until a member fails to renew to find out what went wrong. As you plan various member programs or do anything that will directly impact your members, get members involved. Select a few members that may be most interested in the project at hand, and ask them for feedback. Be sure to include members at various stages in their careers.
      • Remind members how your organization has helped, can help, and will continue to support their careers. As you near renewal dates, remind members of the benefits and value they receive from your organization. This is a great time to segment your list and send targeted messages that highlight specific benefits that help them advance their careers.

For example:

  • Reinforce the value of membership by reminding members of the benefits they have taken advantage of so far, such as event discounts and learning opportunities.
  • Remind members of the benefits they have not yet taken advantage of, and that there’s still time to do so.
  • Let members know about the upcoming events and opportunities they’ll miss out on if they do not renew.
  • Leverage association-specific technology. To support the member career journey, it’s important to have association-specific technology solutions in place. Make sure the technology you rely on for membership management, learning management, event management, and career services is purpose-built and works well together. This approach will help your team operate efficiently and effectively while providing the career support your members seek.


For example, Aptify AMS – a membership management solution for large associations – is part of the integrated software suite for associations by Community Brands, which includes solutions for membership management, learning management, event management, and career center.  The solutions work even better together to simplify work, maximize revenue, and strengthen member engagement.

Delivering a great member experience includes supporting members through each stage of their careers. Find out more about what members want from their professional associations and what makes them stick around: Download the Member Engagement and Loyalty Study

Learn how Aptify AMS helps you provide a great experience throughout the member journey. Explore Aptify AMS

Learn more about the Aptify platform, configuration capabilities and QA approach.

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