Email Is Top Communication Tool For Associations: Study

Email is the best way for associations and nonprofits to communicate with members, judging by New Decade: New Experiences, New Challenges, a study by Personify, a constituent engagement platform for organizations.

Across all groups, 80% of members say they like or love personal emails from their associations, and 82% rank email as first or second among channels. Moreover, 75% have a favorable opinion of email newsletters.

Second among preferred channels is phone calls/text, with 45% of members saying they like or love to receive a phone call from their association and 51% who say they feel the same way about text messages. 

Direct mail is next in the list. And social media is last, with less than half saying they want to engage in this channel.

Facebook is the most popular social channel for getting information from an association — with 19% who say they love it and 22% who like it. LinkedIn is next — 13% like it and 17% love it.



In contrast, 13% like and 14% love Twitter, putting it more or less in a tie with Instagram, which is liked by 14% and loved by 13%.

African-Americans are slightly more likely to like Instagram, with those in the Northeastern U.S. showing a slightly greater affinity for LinkedIn, the study says.

But social media use among all groups has grown in the past year, with Facebook showing a 40% growth rate, Twitter 39%, and Instagram 44%.

In more general findings, the study also reveals that:

At 66%, African Americans are much more likely than average to feel that being part of an association is more important than it used to be.

Millennials are 16% more likely to say being in an association is growing in importance.

70% of Gen Z members put stability and security in a job over passion and flexibility. 

“Our survey respondents told us time and again that a mix of digital channels was important in keeping them engaged with an organization,” states the study the author, Amanda Myers, vice president of product and research for Personify.

Myers adds: “Now, as we look to navigate these uncertain times, delivering an omnichannel experience isn’t just important — it’s critical.” 

The study was fielded before the COVID-19 outbreak hit in full. Personify surveyed 1,000 association members in the U.S.


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