“The more elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate.” Joseph Priestley
It may seem reasonable to assume that communicating with technologically-saavy young people is as easy as learning their language. But I have found that knowing how to post tweets, snap chat, and message, does not automatically open the door to understanding. Reaching Millennials can prove to be a greater challenge than upgrading to the latest smartphone.
So how does an Association reach this younger generation and communicate the value of membership? If the goal is remaining relevant throughout generational transitions, how do we assess their needs and evaluate our ability to meet them within our Association’s framework? Evidently, the National Watermelon Association is not the only organization asking these questions. Books have been written and articles published addressing this issue. We’ve even cited many of them in our weekly blogs. Nevertheless, all the suggestions and recommendations are only as good as their application or implementation. Where do we begin?
In her brief article, Creating Membership Value for the Next Generation of Your Association, Cate Girone suggests that the answer to these questions is as simple as gathering a few friends. She writes,
“When you form a group of younger members within your association, you essentially create a resource that you can tap into to research what the next generation of your membership needs and how your association can help. Feedback from this group can help you determine if your current member benefits will appeal to the next generation, or if you need to expand your benefits to include offerings that better appeal to them.”
If you’ve ever asked your teenage son or daughter to teach you how to use your phone, then you may be quick to recognize the veracity and simplicity of Ms. Girone’s suggestion. Rather than solely gathering research done by Baby Boomers regarding the needs of Millennials, we need to invite this younger generation to join the discussion and listen to what they have to say. We may find that more can be accomplished over a capucino than we’d ever expected.
“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” Sydney J. Harris
Girone, Cate. “Creating Membership Value for the Next Generation of Your Association.” Creating Membership Value for the Next Generation of Your Association. AH, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 02 Oct. 2015. <http://info.ahredchair.com/blog/creating-membership-value-for-the-next-generation>.