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President's Newsletter

President's Message August 2022

OUR ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP IS DECLINING

Whilst there are many factors behind declining membership, some of the biggest factors that associations should factor into their retention strategies include financial uncertainty of members, changing membership needs and interests, and struggles to connect with new and younger members.

We are not alone. More than half of associations report that they are losing members. With competition from new groups and aging members, our association may find itself with an attrition problem.

Let’s look at some solutions to declining membership.

Is our association still relevant?

If U3A Clarence is changing or even being phased out, how much interest can our group have for our members? Although there are things you can’t change, we can become proactive about making your association more meaningful. We could consider revising our mission statement, updating our activities or even merging with other U3As or Seniors groups.

Is there something driving members away?

This can be a particularly tough question to pose. In insular groups like ours, a fear of lingering COVID in the community, a lack of suitable presentations and activities may be responsible for membership losses. On a more positive note, it may be something that’s easy to fix, like an overly complex website with too many pop-up windows or dues that are disproportionate to what the association offers compared to other competing organisations.

What do members want?

Associations often become mired in what the committees want at the expense of the larger membership. Is it time to conduct a detailed survey of our members to see if we’ve drifted away from why they joined in the first place?

What do you think? Can you help? Any suggestions?

Len Spaans 

President, U3A Clarence