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Authentic Experiences to Grow Professionally Attract Young Professionals

by Kevin Hinton, on June 4, 2019


Recently, I came across an article written by a young professional that summarized some of the common challenges young professionals experience with associations. Although the highlighted themes were not necessarily new, they are still valuable reminders. And, truthfully, these takeaways probably don't just apply for the young professional audience:

  • Face-to-face interactions create meaningful connections which can be lacking in today's age of modern technology
  • Young professionals are seeking professional development opportunities that are tailored to their generation and needs
  • A personal invitation and real opportunity to volunteer and make a difference within an association makes a lasting impression

Ultimately, YPs want to make connections, build networks, advance our professions, give back, and do good in our communities and the world. This is what associations are made to do, but they will not be successful without members. YPs are current and future members, but the value proposition for membership decreases as engagement with the organization decreases. Engagement leads to continuation of membership and association operations which are necessary for organizational stability and longevity.

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We often hear people say that young professionals do not want to be members…which at face value is a myth.  As this author writes,

YP members, like all members, want to feel valued and that their voices are heard. A sense of belonging with opportunities to contribute and advance the association keep YPs engaged. This creates a purpose to being a member, value in being part of the community, and want to continue."

We may all agree that those are things that every current and potential member would value. The big difference is that a young professional's sense of loyalty is more limited than older professionals. They are willing to become members, but in return, they expect an authentic experience with other professionals where they can develop professionally, be engaged and feel valued as members.