The Journey Ahead report details new members preferences, the rise of virtual events and how digital programming supports retention. 

 January 27, 2021 – Austin, Texas – Personify, Inc. (“Personify”), the market-leading provider of technology solutions for associations, nonprofits and events organizations, today announced findings from its new benchmarking reportThe Journey Ahead: The Future of Associations, Nonprofits and Events. The study, which was fielded in December of 2020 with nearly 1,000 association members and staffdetails the preferences, challenges and evolution of what members want and how to best engage them moving ahead. 

The pandemic has challenged many assumptions that we had about the way we work, the way we interact and how we grow our organizations,” said Scott Collision, President and CEO of Personify. “Our latest research shows that associations and nonprofits have largely adapted and embraced new tactics, channels and strategies to provide value for their members, donors, attendees and exhibitors.” 

Key findings include: 

  • Association membership is valuable (maybe more than ever)– 93% of respondents said that it’s important to be a member of an association, which is a 6% increase from when we asked this question in a 2018 study commissioned by Personify. 
  • Virtual engagement is here to stay– More than half of association staff created a virtual version of their in-person event in 2020, 27% replaced it with a different type of event and 20% decided to not hold an event. Of those who held a virtual event, 91% said that it was valuable in meeting association members’ needs. 85% of attendees want virtual and hybrid options, even when it’s safe to resume in-person events. 
  • Career skills and certifications matter– This was cited as the top reason among members to actively engage in their association, followed closely by being able to network with others and belonging to an organization that advocates for their industry. 
  • Digital networks are crucial– Over 50% of all survey respondents shared how important it is for an association to provide digital networking and an online community for members. 

The full report can be downloaded here. 

About the Study  

Commissioned by Personify, Finn Research conducted an online survey of 500 association and nonprofit members and 465 association employees in the United States. Member respondents report they’re currently a member of a membership organization or have been so within the last two years. Surveys were in the field in December of 2020. 

About Personify 

A trusted solution that allows for infinite possibilities, Personify is the technology foundation that provides insights to maximize engagement and deliver value across every interaction with members, donors, volunteers, attendees, exhibitors and more. For over 20 years, Personify has been a trusted partner to associations, nonprofits, show organizers, YMCAs and JCCs—helping them improve insights, optimize operations, increase revenue and drive productivity. For more information, visit