How to Use Metrics and Data in Membership Organizations

Written by Edward Kay on July 30, 2019

There are numerous benefits of digital technology to harness in associations, but today, I want to tell you about metrics and data in membership organizations and how to effectively use them.

I think there are three components to this:

1. Clarify who your members are.

You need to know what their needs are and how your association meets these needs. You can capture these quickly and easily using personas and member journey maps. The objective is to ensure everyone in your team has a shared understanding and so can work together for maximum impact.

2. Know your core membership data points.

The core metrics I recommend are: overall membership numbers; members per plan; renewal rates and first-year renewal rates (i.e. the percentage of members who renew at their first renewal). You should be able to get this data through your Membership Management System.

3. Then consider your engagement levels and interactions. These are metrics that give an indication of interest and engagement from your members. Examples are event attendance; email open rates; and member benefit usage. It’s all too easy to get quite detailed on these, but the key is to keep it simple to start with.

Following these three steps will surface a number of specific actions, such as where your members get stuck. You can then plan what you can do to move them successfully onto the next step.

You will also be able to identify specific members to target. These could be the ones at risk of churn, i.e. those who are likely lapse at the next renewal cycle. Members with low engagement levels immediately after joining are the ones to focus on, as well as those approaching their renewal date. This is your chance to find out what they were looking for through their membership, identify what’s not working for them, and improve their engagement. It is your chance to turn things around and provide a great member experience.

On the opposite end, you’ll find those members who are super engaged and who can potentially become your brand ambassadors. These are those members who believe in the organization’s work, mission and vision, and who will paint it in a positive light when speaking to others about it. They can help increase brand awareness and attract new members. How can you deepen your relationship with these members and help them to help you grow your membership? Investing your time and energy in these relationships is likely to deliver highly positive results.

The key is to keep it simple. Get these foundations in place to monitor and then manage a few key data points. This will give you more than enough insight on where you should be focusing your efforts for maximum effectiveness.

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