01 Aug 2016

Membership Recruitment and Engagement

We are working to provide members with solutions to specific challenges they face in areas ranging from student debt to research funding and beyond.

Ian King, Executive Director, Membership, American Psychological Association

In 2015, APA established its first-ever office dedicated entirely to issues of membership. This newly created team is tasked with attracting new members to APA and retaining current members of the organization. To achieve these broad goals, the Membership office will focus on engaging with members and making APA membership more valuable and enjoyable. In large part, this means delivering to APA members the tools, services, information, and experiences they need to excel as psychologists at every stage of their careers.

At the outset, we will primarily concentrate on providing members with assistance in the following areas: career and professional development, networking, access to psychological research, and information on trends and developments across the discipline. We will also work to provide members with solutions to specific challenges they face in areas ranging from student debt to research funding and beyond.

We cannot do any of this, however, without detailed input and feedback from APA members. If you have questions or comments about the Membership office or anything you have read here, please contact Ian King, Executive Director, Membership, at iking@apa.org.


The 2015 membership total was 117,575, including 77,552 full members and 40,023 affiliates. In the full-member category, there were 19,826 early career members and associates (within 10 years' receipt of their doctorate); in the affiliate categories, there were 24,190 graduate students. Overall, membership declined 4% in 2015. The life status category increased by 4.5%. (A life status member is one who has reached age 65 and has belonged to APA for 25 years; these members may choose to begin the dues-reduction process, which culminates in dues exemption. In 2015, 766 members moved from the full-member to the life status category.)

Integrated marketing efforts in 2015 focused on recruiting new members, upgrading students to full membership, and engaging members. The Membership office also continued its partnership with the Practice Directorate to develop a campaign to recruit licensed practitioners. Overall, the 2015 fall recruitment campaign targeted nearly 200,000 prospects for membership (up from 167,000 prospects in 2014). By year's end, 14,782 new members or affiliates had joined APA, and 1,074 graduate students had upgraded to full membership.


The Service Center's operations unit is responsible for maintaining the member, subscription, and customer database records and processing new member and affiliate applications, dues and subscription payments, and book orders. The unit's circulation staff handle the postal filings for APA journals and the audits for the Monitor on Psychology.

After staff's review of applications, APA elected 4,482 new members, reinstated 1,477 members, and processed applications for 8,800 student affiliates, 900 teacher affiliates, and 600 international affiliates (totals for affiliates are rounded estimates) in 2015. In April, in collaboration with APA's Information Technology Services, the operations unit introduced a new member application system to accept new member dues payments electronically.

The Service Center's communications staff handled approximately 52,000 direct calls in 2015. Approximately 44% of those calls were member related, 30% required directory assistance, and 21% were from members and the general public placing a book or subscription order or requesting other information. The remaining 5% were technical calls pertaining to online products and services.


APA divisions are organized around psychological specialties and the interest areas of APA's members. APA channels support for its divisions through the Division Services Office, which offers an array of services and resources, including help with accepting and tracking members, assistance with division publications, and support in managing meetings and conferences.

Division Services is also the liaison to the Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR), which represents division interests within APA's governance structure. The committee is responsible for creating the Division Leadership Conference for presidents-elect to prepare them to assume the role of division president. CODAPAR also encourages division collaboration through joint conferences, programming at the APA convention, and the interdivisional grant program.

- From the 2015 Annual Report


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