How can TU attract the younger generation?

I came across a discussion on Reddit regarding TU and younger anglers.  There's no easy answer to why it's difficult to attract a younger base to TU, but I found it interesting that some of the discussion seems to revolve around the "benefits" of joining TU.  I get the impression lots of young people enjoy reading the magazine, and appreciate what TU stands for, but aren't that sure what there is to be gained by joining.  The contributors to the thread who are members are quick to point out the valuable on-the-ground conservation work that TU does.  I wonder if part of the issue in attracting younger members lies in illustrating the value a TU membership provides - not the free stickers, magazines and fly-tying clinics (which are great), but the direct benefit to fishing opportunities and important conservation work that being an active TU member enables.

I also found it interesting that someone mentioned the idea of a "Reddit TU chapter".  I don't know that an online chapter is necessarily the answer, but it speaks to the desire for a more engaged online community of anglers, like we're building here.


said on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

You hit the nail on the ol' noggin here. I was recently just gifted a membership to TU, and my first thought, literally, was "Great! What do I get with a membership?" And, to me, that doesn't mean the magazine, stickers, etc.... I dont' really want more stuff. What I do want, as a guy who only got into the game a couple years ago, is access to more knowledge, more fish stories, better stream and fishing reports, maybe TU events in my area (which don't have to be anything special - a gathering at the local watering hole is more than sufficient).

This speaks to your other point, however. In this sense, a lot of what I'm looking for is already satisfied by Reddit's flyfishing page. So that begs the question for the younger generation: "Why bother with TU?" Because, really, what does the membership get me that I don't already have? A card? A sticker? Sorry, but those don't cut it for your younger crowd. What's gotta be offered is something that can't be found online - real life interaction. 

But here's what's great: You already have the groundwork laid for you. You've got a ton of people with a ton of fish knowledge here. You've got a great way to reach those younger guys and gals (Reddit again). So get some of the Old Guys from your local chapter together and start posting like crazy to Reddit with events offering to take people down to the local river. Here's the catch: you have to be a TU member. But a new membership only costs $17.50, and there are 'mentor events' (aka. hanging out fishing) once a month (or whatever you decide - more is better). And tell them that next time they should bring a friend.

Last bit to get the hook in - Don't shy away from digital media. Take tons of video and pictures. Facebook them. Tweet them. Instagram. Pinterest. Put your fish pics everywhere. Make them great by including yourselves in them. THAT is how you hook the younger members.

said on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Great comments, and all great ideas.  It can be intimidating to try to insert yourself into a group of people who already know each other.  At the same time, to an established group it can seem like advertising your events on a website ought to be enough to entice people to attend.  Takes a bit more effort on both sides, I suppose.

said on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

I just found this discussion from a share on facebook. Interesting read on reddit; there were no women in the thread. TU is still trying to attract new members through their Diversity Initiative. How we build interest still remains the question of the day. 


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