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How to Recruit & Retain Millennial Members with Mentor Programs

Membership, Recruiting Lindsay Rutz

Although millennials make up a significant portion of the workforce, a majority of them are hesitant when it comes to joining professional associations due to their individuality and tendency to second-guess established ideas. This keeps them from seeing the benefits of joining an association, so it becomes essential for membership managers and coordinators to promote the benefits that resonate with millennials values.

Millennials value education, relationship building, and professional development, which makes mentor programs a powerful benefit that can influence them to join your association. This is a terrific opportunity to successfully recruit and retain millennial members, convey the value a mentor program brings and how they align with their own generational values. 

Here are 5 value-driven ways to recruit and retain millennial members with a mentor program:

  1. Focus on the Needs of Young Professionals 
  2. Personalize Your Program
  3. Strengthen Support Networks 
  4. Build Long-Lasting Professional Relationships
  5. Opportunity to Become a Mentor 

Focus on the Needs of Young Professionals

Before you can market a mentor program to a millennial, first understand what they care about, why they care about it, what is going to keep them engaged and how your program will fulfill their needs. Young professionals may be looking for their first job or looking to move into management and higher level positions. They need guidance and advice to become successful in their careers and feel personally fulfilled. 

Career growth and development opportunities are the number one drivers of successful engagement and retention of millennials. When promoting your mentor program, focus on the growth opportunities that come with joining the program – exclusive insight into industry knowledge, a lasting career network, exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences, identification of skill gaps, greater knowledge of career success factors and so much more. 

Personalize Your Program

Each millennial member is going to have their own individual needs within a mentor program. Some might be looking for tips to land their first job, while others may be searching for advice to grow or change their career path within the industry. 

When assigning mentors to mentees, make sure you are matching them based on the mentor’s past experience with mentorship and their own career to make sure they align with the needs of the mentee. In the instance of a mentee wanting to change directions in their career path, partnering them with a mentor of similar experience will make them feel more comfortable and relatable – which helps immensely with retention of millennial members and the overall success of your mentor program. 

Strengthen Support Networks

Many young professionals don’t have a support network to lean on during stressful times. Most notably now, millennials are looking for guidance from industry professionals to help them navigate through the pandemic. Using your mentor program as a way to strengthen support networks can help improve millennials’ perception of uncertainty, boost their confidence and foster trust – all things that are important to professional development growth. 

As stated before, millennials value connection, so during a time of social distancing and limited interaction, it’s very beneficial for young professionals to have someone outside of their personal lives help them make career decisions and offer advice backed by relevant experience. 

Build Long-Lasting Professional Relationships

One of the best assets of joining a professional association is the ability to build relationships with industry professionals outside of immediate peers. Mentor programs give young professionals the opportunity to create these kinds of connections that last beyond the mentorships end date to stay connected within the industry, as well as outside. 

Millennials value relationships where they are challenged, supported and feel comfortable discussing their career options. Most of all, millennials want to feel they belong, which reinforces the idea of togetherness. This will be a major selling point for recruiting and retaining millennial members so be sure any promotional material conveys this benefit clearly.

Opportunity to Become a Mentor

Another value of millennials is personal fulfillment. This trait has a high premium placed on it and will also be a major selling point of membership. Millennials already have an interest in forming connections and relationships with peers, so promoting the idea of becoming a mentor to pass along their knowledge someday will spark their interest even more. If they have a positive experience as a mentee, it will reinforce their decision to have joined in the first place and make them a reputable source for recruiting members when their time to mentor comes. 

Becoming a mentor is an unparalleled experience for young professionals during this time. With the unique experiences and technological advancements millennials have seen over their lifetime, their ability to spread knowledge and guidance to the even younger generations will be unmatched. 


Millennials may seem like tough cases to crack due to their skepticism, but when you fully understand their values and expectations, you will be able to communicate effectively and share how beneficial your membership can be to them. Remember to use proper communication channels, like social media and email, to highlight how their values align with your mentor program to recruit and retain millennial members consistently. 

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