A new study by Arthur C. Brooks, a Syracuse University professor who specializes in studying nonprofit organizations, says that trade and professional associations need to start worrying less about how to get younger members to join and more about how to keep them interested once they do join. And he says they will join, eventually, despite the doomsday predictions we have heard for quite some time now.
In 2000, about a quarter of the population belonged to a trade or professional association. Brooks predicts the number of association members is likely to rise from about 51 million today to about 55 million by 2015.
His report, Generations and the Future of Association Participation, was sponsored by the William E. Smith Institute for Association Research, which is funded by SmithBucklin Corp., a Chicago-based company that provides management and professional services to associations.