by Courtney Lill
Member engagement is the lifeblood of an association. Active, engaged, passionate members renew their memberships and help to bring even more new members into the fold. But this isn’t necessarily simple to achieve. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the daily operations of your work, forgetting that you’re also supposed to be a cheerleader and champion for the issues that members find so important.
The right technology can help you keep track of the activities you initiate and to assess the critical metrics that will let you know when your member engagement practices are gaining traction and even increasing membership.
Calculate your member engagement score and set KPIs today with our free ebook: Scoring Member Engagement Part I.
1. Make New Members Feel Welcome
Think back to a time when you were brand new to something—perhaps a new school, job, or even your own association. You weren’t sure what to expect, how to act, or what the others were like or how they expected you to act.
Welcome emails are an excellent way to start off, but be sure to fill your website with guides, instructional materials, and other helpful info for understanding the association and the members’ part in it. Use your association software to track these new member campaigns so that you can determine which are most effective so you can recreate what works.
2. Help New Members Acclimate
Keeping fresh, meaningful, timely information on your website for members in all stages of their membership is an excellent way to bolster engagement. You might also consider adding some functionality to your website in the form of helpful tools and other interactive content.
Perhaps your organization is a professional association: you might offer a tool on your website that allows them to calculate how much an advanced degree would help them in terms of lifetime earnings. A trade association could provide a series of instructional videos or how-to guides. Just keep delivering relevant content to help your members get value from their membership, and you’ll certainly see member engagement increase.
3. Build an Active Community
For members, engaging with the association’s leaders directly is absolutely beneficial, but what really bolsters a community of members is to get them communicating with one another.
One of the most attractive aspects of joining an association is the sense of belonging—the feeling that you are a part of something bigger and more powerful than yourself. Help your members achieve this bond through an active local or online community.
For local groups, this is generally done via regular meetings, but in national or international associations with members strewn the world over, this type of face time isn’t usually possible, except perhaps for an annual convention. That means building an active online community is crucial.
Community forums can be powerful when managed correctly. Keep content fresh and encourage member engagement and participation. Also, make it easy for members to share the content via social media, email, etc. (as long as the info isn’t confidential).
4. Keep Your Association’s Mission & Goals in Focus
It’s easier than you might think to let the group become more important than the association’s mission. This phenomenon is called “group think,” and it’s a sociological phenomenon in which members are more interested in the cohesiveness of their group than they are in realizing the mission the group was created to fulfill. Always keep your association’s mission, purposes, and goals first and foremost.
As you implement these best practices, how can you tell it’s working the way you planned? Share your thoughts below and don’t forget to dive into our Scoring Member Enagement eBook to help you better measure member engagement.