Young MembersIt’s always funny when the personal and professional collide.

About a week ago, I went to my mailbox and found in it two magazines. Both featured cover stories around the emergence of Generation Z. Then there was the post-holiday onslaught of email newsletters with articles like:

  • Make way for Generation Z in the Workplace
  • How Generation Z Will Impact Your Workplace
  • How Generation Z Will Transform the Future Workplace

The focus and attention on generations is understandable. It’s a fascinating, ever-changing topic with broad application and a lot of appeal. We each belong to one of the groups studied and have an opportunity to talk with others about how we either align or differ from stereotypes presented.

In addition to our personal lives, as noted from the content showing up in my inbox, the potential implications of demographic shifts on the workplace are nothing short of seismic. Millennials, generally identified as those born between 1981 and 1996, are expected to represent half of the global workforce by 2020 while Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, will make up an additional 20 percent by 2021.

The last several years have seen the introduction of multiple studies designed to help nonprofits understand different generations, highlighting what makes each unique and providing guidance on how to best meet their particular needs. But we couldn’t help feeling like there was more to learn. For example:

  • How do the trends we’re seeing in the nonprofit align or differ from what’s being reported in other areas of media?
  • Has the behavior of Millennials changed as they’ve grown in their careers?
  • Are there notable differences in the preferences of Millennials and Generation Z that nonprofits should be aware of?

We had questions and wanted answers.

While the publicly available data was helpful, Personify took the step of fielding our own original research and in December of last year asked 1,000 Millennials and Generation Z members for their perspective on a variety of topics including their lives, how they learn about organizations, make the decision to join, the best ways to engage them—and the best ways to retain them.

The good news?

Across the board, young members remain steadfast in their commitment to membership with 87 percent of those responding to our survey reporting it is important to be part of an association and more than half (51%) reporting that being part of an association is becoming more important than it used to be.

But there’s more to the story.

The complete findings are being published today in our brand-new, complimentary report, Young Members 2.0: Understanding and Benchmarking the Membership Preferences of Millennials and Generation Z.

We’ll be walking through the results in more detail in our upcoming webinar: Young Members 2.0. While the data affirmed some of the things that we believed to be true, there were a number of surprises:

  • The role that personal, one-on-one IRL (in real life) interactions play at different stages in the membership journey
  • Which social media channels topped the list – and which fell flat
  • How young members are, and are not, engaging with the events programming driving your non-dues revenue
  • The potentially catastrophic retention issue taking root with Millennials and Gen Z

Membership matters. While each organization’s membership is unique, we believe our findings can inform and support strategies designed to support the long-term growth and success of your organization.

Young members, Millennials and Gen Z, like generations before them are turning to organizations for leadership, knowledge and the personal connections as a springboard to their personal success. The time has come for organizations to do the same. Let’s get to work.