ASAE ForesightWorks Drivers of Change: Demographics and Membership


Empowered Women 

In many countries, changing workplace needs, women’s educational advances, and the reduction of discrimination are resulting in more women at the top of their professions. Associations have a unique and important role to play in promoting women in the workplace and making their presence visible. Gender equity discussions are important considerations in policy decisions and external communication. 

Empowering the New Workforce 

New structures are emerging to support workers’ rights and protections in the face of economic change. Workers are confronting structural changes—automation, the gig economy, globalization, and the decline of unions—that are generally shifting the balance of power in favor of employers. Now, driven by innovative startups, a handful of political initiatives, and workers themselves, new solutions are emerging—including from associations, which can both contribute to and benefit from this movement. 

Immigration-Driven Demography 

Immigration will remain the central driver of American population growth and diversity for decades to come, reshaping not only demographics but also values and attitudes. For associations, this creates a more diverse membership with more varied ideas, expectations, and needs. 

The Next-Gen Professionals  

Millennials are now the largest generational cohort in the workforce, and generation Z is right behind them. These next-gen professionals are the future of associations and, contrary to some conventional wisdom, they are willing to both join and stay with organizations that meet their career development needs. Organizations will need to provide the kinds of training, mentoring, content, and other services that next-gen professionals value most, encouraging engagement that leads to loyalty. 

Shrinking Youth Populations 

In many countries, birthrates have been falling for decades, with births in a growing list of countries—now including the United States—under the population replacement rate. Having fewer young people presents challenges to societies: a smaller workforce, fewer students in the educational system, and shifts in population geography. More countries will have to meet the needs of rising senior populations with fewer youth to support them. 


Cultural, demographic, and technological changes are altering volunteer expectations and experiences in an increasingly dynamic and digital organizational environment. Associations and nonprofits are experimenting with more flexible roles and structures to support collaboration and contribution. 

Updated 2022 


Other ASAE ForesightWorks Topic Areas

Content, Learning, and Knowledge
Data and Technology
Demographics and Membership
Economic Conditions
Society and Politics
Workforce and Workplace