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New Community Brands Report Reveals What Members Want from Their Professional Associations and What Makes Them Loyal

Member Engagement and Loyalty Study offers deep insights into member sentiments and behaviors based on career stage, loyalty segment and other factors

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Nov. 11, 2019 – Community Brands, the leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for associations, nonprofits, schools and faith-based groups, today announced the release of the new Member Engagement and Loyalty Study at  Xperience 2019, the leading technology conference for associations, nonprofits and K-12 schools hosted by Community Brands. The study’s findings include perspectives from association members and professionals on key topics that impact member recruitment, participation and retention. The study also offers deep analysis of member sentiments and behaviors based on career stage, loyalty segment and other factors.

One of the notable findings from the study is that members prioritize benefits differently throughout the career lifecycle. For example, job opportunities are critically important to those members who are early in their career, while those who are mid-career find professional training most valuable. Over time, these benefits become less important, while other benefits – including code of ethics and timely industry information – become more valuable.

“Digging deep into member sentiments, we see that members join organizations for different reasons than why they stay,” said Erin Shy, Managing Director, Association and Nonprofit at Community Brands. “As associations develop their strategies, it’s important for them to understand what benefits members value at various career stages and which ones drive recruitment, engagement and renewal.”

The study answers key questions about member interests and priorities, including what benefits members value most, which benefits have the biggest impact on loyalty, how member engagement correlates with loyalty, and how member priorities and loyalty change throughout the career journey. The report also includes recommendations about what organizations can do to align their strategies with member values and behaviors.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Professional membership organizations must continuously prove their value. Those early in their careers are more likely to feel connected to their organization and be satisfied with membership than those later in their careers. However, early careerists are also less likely to commit to renewing and less likely to promote their association to their peers. The data suggests that to keep these members around long term, organizations must regularly prove their worth.
  • Organizations have work to do around some benefits that are most valuable to members. Members are satisfied with many of the benefits they consider most valuable, including industry information, code of ethics, trainings, and advocacy. Conversely, there are some areas – including job opportunities – that members value most in which organizations have opportunities to improve.
  • Organizations underemphasize the importance of job opportunities. Job opportunities are one of the most important benefits to members from when they join through the early career stage. Association professionals, on the other hand, do not rank job opportunities at the same level of importance.
  • Continuing education is not just for meetings and conferences anymore. Association professionals believe meetings and conferences, which traditionally have focused on training and continuing education, are one of the most important benefits they offer. Yet, members rate them as a lower priority. The findings hint that it may be time for organizations to offer additional learning opportunities.

The full study can be accessed here. Highlights from the study will also be discussed through November 13 during the  Xperience 2019 conference at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Xperience is the preeminent live technology show for associations, nonprofits, and schools and features over 160 impactful sessions spread across three days. Key sponsors at the event include CardConnect, AffiniPay, Higher Logic, Gravitate Solutions, and Keppler Speakers. Monday keynote speaker, Brett Culp provided an inspirational message on superhero leadership and was sponsored by Keppler Speakers.

Learn more about Community Brands and its Association Solutions, Nonprofit Solutions, K-12 Solutions, and Faith-based Solutions.

About the Report
Commissioned by Community Brands, Edge Research conducted an online survey of 1,143 U.S. members who self-reported they are 18 years old or older and a member of a professional membership organization. Survey respondents were recruited through an online non-probability sample, meaning findings are not projectable to the larger population of members. The term “members” refers specifically to those who were surveyed. Quotas were set so the survey is representative of key demographics. A parallel online survey was conducted among 405 professionals who work in these organizations. Survey respondents were recruited using both an online non-probability sample and Community Brands lists. The terms “Professionals” or “Pros” refers specifically to those who were surveyed. The surveys were in the field during July of 2019.

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