Research Outline

Millennials and Membership Organizations


To understand how millennials view membership organizations that aren't related to their trade (country clubs, social clubs etc). This information will help update a membership plan for National Western.

Early Findings


  • A study conducted in 2016 by the Club Managers Association of America found that for 63% of millennials "the financial obligations of club membership were a barrier to signing up for a membership." This is the link to that study, while dated according to Wonder standards, it might provide useful insights that are still relevant.


  • The biggest barrier (33%) for this generational group is lifestyle fit. Millennials want to share the same values as the organizations they form a part of but their values are changing. Their values differ from those of "clubs and institutions that rely on status, luxury, or event exclusivity."
  • Previous generational groups "aged" into their values and causes they care about thus aging into cultural organizations that support these values. "Millennials and younger members of Generation X are not suddenly abandoning certain beliefs, causes, and perceptions as a simple function of growing older. Instead, they are carrying those beliefs with them as they age." Therefore, it is important to understand the values of this generational group and respect them so cultural organizations remain relevant.

Communicating and Connecting

  • Millennials do not necessarily believe social interactions with like-minded individuals need to take place in person. With the internet, such interactions can take place on social media and apps regardless of the physical location. Interacting in this manner also saves time commuting to the country club or community center.
  • Millennials are different because of the environment they were born into and their access to information. Being born into an environment where they communicate and connect differently most likely has changed how millennials "discover and prioritize causes as well as the durability of these causes."

Summary of Findings

  • During the initial hour of research, we searched for information on how millennials view membership organizations.
  • We found that the cost of membership, values, and their preferred method for communicating and connecting have a profound effect on their need to be a part of membership organizations.