3 steps to drive student membership growth.

Do you have a strategy in place to grow your association’s pipeline of younger members? At The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA), we’ve taken a proactive approach to building our membership and growing the future CPA workforce in Ohio. It’s translated to an astounding 70% increase in our student membership during the past year.

How did we do it?

Fortunately, the accounting profession offers several strong selling points. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates accounting jobs will grow 11% from 2014 to 2024. Enrollment in college accounting programs reached an all-time high during the 2013 – 14 academic year. And, the demand for accountants and CPAs in the market is only growing.

This is great news for students who have yet to settle on a career choice. We leveraged the statistics to build a story around how an accounting major can springboard to a versatile and financially rewarding career. We also developed a three-pronged approach to attract student members which proved successful.

You may consider some or all of these strategies as you look to grow your association’s base.

Expand membership to younger students.
Research from the American Institute of CPAs shows more than 30% of students decide to major in accounting while still in high school. By extending our complimentary student membership to high school students, we captured a younger audience. We engage them throughout college with regular onboarding messages, targeted social media campaigns, leadership and career development events, and scholarship opportunities. This positions OSCPA as a valuable resource for students during and after college.

Beef up programs and services for students.
We doubled the number of events offered to high school students through our charitable affiliate, The Ohio CPA Foundation. We hired a Diversity and Inclusion Manager who exclusively focuses on developing programs for students from all backgrounds to extend the profession’s outreach efforts.

Develop partnerships with student ambassadors and universities.
What better way to convince students about the value of accounting and OSCPA than through peer-to-peer networking? Our 20 student ambassadors on 18 campuses recruit student members and host programs and events geared to students who have not yet chosen a major. Our partnerships with universities throughout the state funnels students directly to OSCPA.

While we’re thrilled our student membership has grown more than 70%, we’re even more excited about the relationships we’ve developed with educators and students throughout Ohio. By getting strategic in our approach, we’re well positioned as the go-to association for the best and brightest Ohio students and future CPAs.

If you’re exploring ways to grow your association’s membership, try tailoring our successful strategies to fit your requirements, campaigns and mission. And, let us know what has worked for you. After all, we’re in this together to deliver relevance and value to every young professional.

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