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2018 Association Annual Survey Results 2018 ASSOCIATION ANNUAL SURVEY

GrowthZone surveyed nearly 1,000 association professionals across the U.S. and Canada. Topics included everything from health insurance coverage, to the Top 10 challenges holding them back, to what they wished their board knew. The results showed a number of trends impacting today’s associations.

Association Industry Trends Survey Results

The Association Trends Survey Results is GrowthZone’s most popular piece of content. Take a look at the easy-to-read results and see how your association compares.

Annual Operating Budgets and Membership Statistics

Close to 1/2 of the responding associations report an operating budget less than $1 million dollars.  The majority of organizations have an annual operating budget between $1 and 5 million dollars.

Around half of responding associations have less than 1,000 members and the majority of respondents indicate their organizations’ membership is less than 500.

Membership Growth

54% of associations report decreased or stagnant overall membership numbers. Almost half indicate that they’re seeing an increase in new memberships.

While 70% report stagnant or decreased membership renewal numbers, almost half have seen an overall increase in membership over the past 5 years.

Association Challenges

Everything from resistance to change to aging members, from lack of funding to outdated technology – associations continue to face a multitude of challenges.

Association Operations

Respondents report that approximately every 1 out of 3 members is a millennial. When asked about their challenges, organizations of all sizes consistently commented about the difficulty in engaging and recruiting members in that demographic.

The use of printed materials by member-based organizations continues to decrease with almost 75% of association communications being sent digitally.

Only a small number of respondents report decreased event attendance. 82% of associations indicate their event attendance is steady or growing.

Dues Structure, Health Insurance, and More

The results show a fairly equal representation of types of membership structures.

The majority of associations offer some form of health insurance coverage to their staff.

The acceptance of mobile payments at association events is growing, but the majority of associations are not using mobile credit card readers at their events.


The top reasons members don’t renew include: budget cuts, lack of value, and lack of interest. Other top reasons are: members didn’t like/use/need membership benefits and never had time to participate.

Revenue and Marketing

Associations report sending an average of nine emails per month with 1/3 of respondents indicating open rates between 21 and 35%.

Non-dues revenue accounts for approximately half of all revenue annually.

Wish List

What Association Pros Wished their Boards Realized

The need for a strategy, an understanding of what’s involved with running a member-based organizations, and a lack of resources are just some of the things respondents indicate their boards of directors don’t understand.

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