Focusing on the Wrong Generation for your Association’s growth?

Millennials- are they ready?

Associations and organization’s are terrified that their actions won’t appeal to millennials- and still today they are focusing on the baby boomers, but who are we missing?

The Association Make up

Less than 1% of organization’s members are aged 18-24 years old, another 1% are aged between 25-34 years old- that is the entire millennial generation. 57% of associations claim the average age of members are between 45-54 years old and 23% say members are 55-64 years old (1)- mostly baby boomers. Identifying baby boomers as the largest member base and clarifying that millennials make up less than 3% of associations, who is being focused on? Millennials…Why Millennials?

Limited amount of Disposable income

Millennials are ages 18-34, 40% of millennials are still in school (2), the rest, entering the career world or searching for a job, with some exceptions. 36% of millennials still live at home (3). More and more millennials are living at home- saving money, paying off student debt, looking for a job, whatever the reason may be it is obvious that they aren’t overflowing with disposable income. They are not in the stage of their life to be joining a professional association or organization because they simply don’t have the funds.

Generation X- Full Force

Today in associations we are engaging baby boomers and trying to entice the millennials- there is an entire generation that we skipped. Generation X, holding an average of 17% in associations make-up aging 35-54 (1), yet everyone is skimming over them when they are proven to be the next members. Engage and entice Gen X early, demonstrate the value, capture their attention and encourage them to become a member today!

Stop stressing about the lack of millennial interest and focus on those with a higher disposable income, who don’t live with their parents, and will in turn, find value being a part of an organization. Member management and member engagement are important- make sure you’re engaging and managing and attracting the right audience for your assoication.


(1) 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report Available. (2016). The Membership Management Report, 12(10), 8-8. doi:10.1002/mmr.30508

(2) Beaton, C. (2016, June 29). The Oldest Millennials Just Turned 35: How Gen Y Is Growing Up, Getting Wise And Beating The Odds. Retrieved January 25, 2017, from

(3) Hoak, A. (2013, August 14). How long is too long to live with your parents? Retrieved January 25, 2017, from