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The Decision to Join: How Individuals Determine Value and Why They Choose to Belong

by James Dalton and Monica Dignam

A person's decision to join an individual membership organization is not a cost-benefit analysis a conclusion of this study that does not fit the conventional wisdom. After all, the membership appeal should be what's in it for them, or so many think. Turns out, it isn't that simple. The reality of this finding opens the door to insight, refined strategies, and a new look at what's valuable to association members.

The Decision to Join compiles data gathered from 18 individual membership organizations and nearly 17,000 survey responses to paint a clearer picture of what people value about membership in an association. The strategic implications of the study include abilities to

  • improve an association's value proposition
  • create and execute more effective strategies
  • target member and prospect segments and tailor offerings to appeal to those segments.

Comprehensive data and analysis paint a clear picture of topics such as affiliation and involvement, generations and career level, gender, employer type and level of support, and world location, offering insights that can lead associations to focus on the programs and initiatives that matter to members and thus improve their overall value proposition. Bonus features of this report are practical guides to discussing and adopting the findings of the report and conducting similar studies to identify specific topics of importance within individual organizations.

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