Association Management Trends 2024: Embrace the Change

Association Management Trends
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Association Management Trends 2024

In the evolving landscape of 2024, associations face a pivotal moment characterized by significant shifts in membership dynamics, economic pressures, and technological advancements. This year’s association outlook underscores the necessity to adapt and thrive amidst these changes. Here are some of the transformative strategies and innovations we see shaping the future of associations.

New Directions In Membership


The landscape for associations has been transformed drastically, with changes occurring at a pace not seen in the last two decades. Associations are grappling with changing member expectations. The landscape for associations has been transformed drastically, with changes occurring at a pace not seen in the last two decades. Associations are grappling with changing member expectations and recovering from the pandemic-induced losses. There’s a pressing need to diversify revenue and membership to ensure sustainability. Amidst these challenges, there’s a silver lining – a realization that change, collaboration, and quick action are possible, fostering optimism. A robust economy is seen as a beacon of hope for membership growth.

There's a pressing need to diversify revenue and membership to ensure stability.


After a decline in 2021 and 2022, associations are witnessing a significant rebound, with member growth rates reaching their highest since 2016. The MGI 2023 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report found that 49% of associations report growth, contrasting to 26% in 2021. The median increases are 6% annually and 12% over five years. Notably, the median renewal rate is steady at 81%, with first-year renewals at 63%, indicating that new member acquisition is a critical driver of this resurgence.

Association Management Trends
After declines in 2021 and 2022, associations are rebounding and showing increases in member growth at the highest rate since 2016.


In response to these shifts, associations are reevaluating their value propositions, membership models, and dues structures. This reevaluation is leading to innovative membership options such as all-inclusive memberships, credit-based “gift card” memberships, and practice memberships, each designed to cater to diverse member needs and preferences.


Associations experiencing growth share common traits: a compelling value proposition, an influx of new members, and the development of new benefits. High overall renewal rates (over 80%) and first-year renewal rates (over 60%) are strong growth indicators. 

Moreover, associations with a higher proportion of millennial members are seeing growth, whereas those with predominantly boomer members are declining. This demographic shift underscores the importance of evolving association offerings to meet changing preferences.

Growth Drivers

Diversifying Revenue and Membership Strategies


To combat financial pressures, especially inflation, nearly half of the associations increased their dues in the last year, a significant jump from previous years. The reality is stark: without dues increases, associations find their dues revenue down by 35% in real terms, with expenses up by the same margin. Many are now adopting automatic annual increases, which correlate with higher renewal rates, typically between 3%-5% annually.

Forward-thinking associations are redefining their value propositions to ensure their long-term sustainability and relevance.


Associations are moving towards “all-inclusive” memberships, incorporating most a la carte benefits into the membership package. This approach addresses member frustrations over being “nickel and dimed.” It significantly enhances the value of membership by making benefits such as continuing education, publications, training, and smaller events available at no extra cost. This strategy justifies higher dues and provides non-members with financial incentives to join.


Innovative models like tiered memberships for non-paying “associates” and credit-based memberships are gaining traction. These models offer a range of benefits and engagement opportunities without the upfront cost, creating a self-selected pool for membership marketing. On the other hand, credit-based memberships allow members to use credits for additional benefits, demonstrating the financial value of membership and simplifying the member experience.


Tailored for owners of small to mid-sized practices, these memberships offer a combination of individual benefits plus additional perks for the business and its team. This model aims to expand membership by appealing to business owners and allied professionals who might not otherwise join, providing comprehensive support across administrative, marketing, legal, and professional development domains.

Revolutionizing Association Management with AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has ushered in a new era of association management trends, offering unprecedented opportunities to enhance operational efficiency, member engagement, and personalized communication. In this transformative landscape, AI is not just a technological advancement; it’s a strategic ally that enables associations to navigate the complexities of modern member expectations and competitive pressures. Through AI-powered member segmentation, content personalization, and predictive analytics, associations are leveraging AI to streamline operations, craft tailored member experiences, and drive growth in innovative and impactful ways.


Automation and AI-driven FAQs streamline routine transactions and inquiries, enhance efficiency, and improve member satisfaction.

In this transformative landscape, AI is not just a technological advancement; it's a strategic ally.


Dynamic versioning and omnichannel value delivery enable associations to provide highly personalized and timely communications to their members. This approach leverages the latest data to create over 1,000 versions of communications tailored to specific audience segments.


AI-generated content and continuously A/B-tested messaging are revolutionizing acquisition and renewal strategies. These AI-driven approaches allow for highly targeted and effective marketing campaigns.


This innovative application of AI involves creating digital representations of members to simulate real situations and outcomes. This technology enables associations to refine their marketing, communication, and operational strategies by predicting engagement and optimizing the member experience.

For more on AI in associations, please see  From Mundane to Magical: How AI is Reshaping Association Management.

Conclusion: A Forward-Looking Approach

As associations navigate through the changes 2024 brings, the key to success lies in embracing innovation, leveraging technology, and remaining adaptable to the evolving needs of their members. By reimagining their value propositions, diversifying revenue streams, and harnessing the power of AI, associations can ensure sustained growth and relevance in an increasingly dynamic environment. The future for association management trends is not just about adapting to change but thriving through innovation and resilience.

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