Generation Z makes up about 35% of the entire world’s population and they’re quickly becoming the next generation of young professionals. With over 72.8 million individuals part of this new generation, it’s easy to see why associations want (and need) to attract Gen Z members.
But, how can you engage this new generation to join your association?
Recently, Web Scribble talked with Ed Liebow, the Executive Director of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Now in his fifth year as ED for AAA, Ed had a lot of insight on how AAA attracts and engages its members. Especially members who fall into the Gen Z category.
Keep reading for insights on how to attract Gen Z members to your association and how to keep them engaged.
What attracts Gen Z members to associations?
Gen Z individuals are steadily making their way into the academic and business world. In fact, it is projected that Gen Z will see the most college attendees out of any other generation. And they’re searching for workplace benefits as well. But, what really brings Gen Z members to associations?
Gen Z are attracted to associations with career-oriented benefits at cost-effective prices. Associations offer a lot to its Gen Z members and AAA offers its younger members a handful of helpful benefits for members looking to find a place in the anthropology career field.
For example, the American Anthropological Association is the largest professional society for trained anthropologists in the world. It hosts around 10,000 members, many of those in Generation Z. In fact, some of AAA’s top benefits appeal to students or young professionals in the anthropology field.
Here are some ways your association can attract Gen Z to become members. Hopefully, your association can use some of these strategies to increase your Gen Z membership numbers.
1. Offer mentorship opportunities
Gen Z individuals value hard work and are driven to make the workforce a better place. In order to do that, they might benefit from mentorship opportunities at your association.
Mentorship programs are a member benefit associations can use to pull in Gen Z members. Students want guidance as they pursue a career in their field. Luckily, your association curates members with knowledge and leadership students can benefit from. Offer it to them!
Cross-generational mentoring is a tactic associations are using to provide benefits for both parties. Pair a Gen Z member with a member from a different generation such as a Millennial or even someone from the Baby Boomer generation. This gives each participant the chance to learn from a different generational perspective.
AAA has seen great results from a mentoring program they provide called the “mentor match program.” The program pairs members at early stages of their career with an individual who is further along in career planning. The program also allows the two members to create a symbiotic relationship.
Provide mentor benefits to younger, less experienced members looking to customize their career planning process. Create opportunities for student members to meet up with professionals of your association’s membership.
2. Hold workshops for young professionals
As Gen Z approaches the workforce, they’re focused on gaining any advantage possible. Why not provide them resources to strengthen their potential?
Ed, a former research scientist with a Ph.D. in anthropology, remembers being a young professional. He spoke about the incredible access to professional support AAA provides for its members looking to build their professional experience. AAA provides its student/young professional members career planning workshops, letters of recommendation, and a deeply discounted portfolio management service.
Reach out to young professionals and provide services they’ll find beneficial to their journey into the workforce. Offering resume/portfolio workshops to members allows members to engage with your association while receiving important feedback. It also allows members to see what professionals are looking for in your association’s respective field.
Writing workshops are another benefit for young professional members. Often times, student members write for academic purposes and must break that habit when transitioning into the workforce.
A writing workshop offers members the chance to write for general and specialized audiences. AAA allows academic members to work with real editors, producing developmental journals as writing practice. Academic members strengthen their writing as well as a journal for their professional portfolio.
3. Save members money with a customizable plan
Gen Z prioritizes saving money. In a recent survey, 21% of Gen Z participants claimed to have a savings account since before age 10. Members of Generation Z are selective when it comes to spending money. Your association must clearly outline the benefits it can provide them.
In addition, customizable benefit plan has potential to attract members looking to save money.
According to Ed, AAA has considered a number of different solutions to saving members money. He claims that one of the main roadblocks for increased membership engagement is making clear the value of membership.
“The nature of work is changing from full time job with benefits to a ‘gig economy’,” Ed states. “People are getting hired on a project basis rather than as a full time employee with benefits. Members used to have employers pay for memberships. If they’re not full time employees, employers are not as forthcoming to pay for membership dues as they have been in the past. Members are starting to wonder if all benefits are of sufficient value.”
A customizable benefit plan can combat this roadblock. This allows members to pick which benefits they’d like to receive and pay per benefit rather than pay for an entire membership. A customizable plan helps members save money while still enjoying what your association has to offer.
AAA know what they’re doing when it comes to attracting and engaging their Gen Z membership. They know what Gen Z individuals care about, what their needs are, and what they want in an association.