In the last decade, APA attracted an average of 4,500 new members per year, increasing the member count to 88,900--a rise of 22 percent since 1990. The association's overall count including affiliates reached 152,500--a rise of 41 percent since 1990.
But the membership news isn't all good. During the 1990-2000 period, the number of resigning members increased from around 2,400 a year to 4,400 per year and unpaid memberships increased from about 5,000 to 9,700. Of particular concern are increases in departure and unpaid patterns for practitioners, new members and students.
Last year, APA's Council of Representatives appointed a Task Force on Membership Retention and Recruitment to study ways the association can better satisfy current members and attract more members to its ranks.
After studying these issues, the task force has made many recommendations, including that APA:
Get more members involved in APA activities. Those who are connected to and involved in APA tend to retain membership. The task force made several suggestions to address this issue, including that APA enhance governance opportunities for new members; increase diversity participation on boards and committees; offer more continuing education opportunities; and provide more social contact and networking at APA's Annual Convention.
Continue to position itself as the umbrella organization that brings together all of psychology's various subfields and groups. Research conducted for the task force concludes that members belong because they see APA as a way to identify with the rest of the field.
Increase efforts to attract new doctorates. Recognizing that students and new psychologists are APA's future, the task force suggests that APA expand its presence in postgraduate and internship programs, graduate programs, undergraduate programs, high schools and community colleges, and develop new membership products and services for them.
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