The 6th annual survey, conducted in late 2020, explores membership retention, engagement, acquisition, and technology advancements against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Association professionals from across the globe shared how they managed during the crisis, their top priorities for the coming year, post-COVID plans for events and workspaces, and their outlook on the future.
More than 500 association and membership executives from North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe/Middle East/India/Africa (EMEIA) took part in the survey consisting of 23 questions in three categories: Demographics, Technology, and COVID-19. This is a 48% increase over the previous survey’s response rate. Key findings included:
- 70% of respondents reported that staff could access systems/applications from home.
- Member engagement increased for 49% of respondents, while member retention was up or steady for 57%.
- Overall membership levels increased or stayed the same for 58% of respondents.
- 70% were able to keep staffing levels steady.
- 30% report that at least some staff will now permanently work from home.
- Net revenue declined for 53% and 21% had to reduce staff.
- Respondents ranked their growth/sustainability over the next year on a scale of 1 to 100; the average score was 66.
“The worldwide association community proved to be incredibly resilient throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” noted Edward Wendling, Global Vice President of Marketing. “Most had systems in place to allow virtual work and some organisations actually increased member engagement and retention. This is a real accomplishment in the best of times but it is particularly remarkable during a pandemic.”