Athletics-related professional associations are nonprofit and formed voluntarily by athletic administrators or coaches. Because membership enrollment and retention are critical to organizational survival, factors affecting members’ participation should be studied to aid managerial decisions. This study was designed to test a conceptual model and develop a valid Membership Incentive Scale (MIS) to identify important membership incentives. The MIS is based on an underlying theoretical framework and empirical support. Participants (N = 415) from 15 professional associations completed a national survey. The results of factor and data analyses supported the four-factor (Utilitarian, Purposive, Solidary, Informative) incentive model, demonstrated the factorial validity and internal-consistency reliability of the 14-item MIS, and explored the most important factor (Informative Incentives). This article provides an important tool for managers to use to access essential membership incentives for the associations studied, as well as a reference for further studies of membership incentives for these and other organizations.
Chen is with the Dept. of PE and Sport, College of Health Professions, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859.