Rapidly Growing Member-Based Organizations


To determine 2-3 trends in membership numbers for member-based US organizations by providing details on the reason/s for the membership growth/decline, trend description, factors driving the trend, trend examples and any trend data from associations.

Early Findings

Membership Growth

  • Marketing General Incorporated’s 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report reveals that the trend of membership growth is upward. From the 821 member-based organizations that were surveyed, 48% reported an increase in membership.
  • According to MGI, associations that continually explore and test new marketing strategies will likely see steady membership growth in the coming years.
  • GrowthZone's 2019 Association Annual Survey results show that 42% of US associations had an increase in overall net membership, 40% were unchanged while 14% experienced a decrease.
  • The 2019 GrowthZone survey also shows that 55% of organizations experiencing membership growth offer membership incentives such as free gifts or conference registration discounts. Also, 42% of growing organizations have regular posts on their Instagram account while 25% post regular blog entries. Aside from that, 61% of growing organizations participate in the legislative process by taking a position on specific issues.

American Society for Quality

  • Although most associations are experiencing membership growth, there are those (25%) that are experiencing membership decline. One example is the American Society for Quality (ASQ). ASQ used to have 150,000 members but in early 2018 the membership fell to 70,000.
  • According to ASQ, the reasons for the decline include the association's loss of relevance, failing to keep up with younger and newer members, and a significant drop in retention.
  • In June 2018, ASQ made some changes that resulted in a turnaround success as their membership retention increased by 4% that month. These changes include creating member segments, leading members to renewal through certification tracks, and speaking to individual member personas.

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