So, to start off… what the hell is membership engagement? I know a lot of you might have been thinking that. Well, that’s ok because there isn’t a clear cut answer. Membership Engagement isn’t just the newest buzzword that people like to sling around - it’s a real thing, but it will mean something different to each association.
Let’s break it down!
Alright, that is pretty clear… I mean I hope it is. If you don’t know what that is I’m not sure how or why you have an association at all. Members are your life blood. They are your reason for being. Getting and keeping members a part of your organization is critical for your association’s survival.
So, you need to find a way to attract new members and to make them want to stick around. You need to keep them interested… you need to keep them engaged.
If you think of your association as a car, engagement is the fuel that keeps it running. But, just like fuel - there are different types. So, it can mean something different to each association.
A simple way to look at it would be:
Your Members + Action = Engagement
So, what is the action that you want your members to be taking and how do you get them to want to take those actions? Are you hoping for more volunteers on a projects, increasing leadership on boards and committees, more social media involvement, email mentions about your association? Knowing what you want your members to be doing is key.
The next step is how do you get them to take action? The easiest way to do this is to give them something that excites them. As Bonnie Raitt once said, “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About”. Here are a few examples of unique experiences that can get your members talking:
- Impactful Association Speakers: A speaker that can deliver actionable content to your members will get them excited and wanting to spread the word about what and where they heard this valuable information
- New Networking Opportunities: Holding a co-hosted event with a similar association can be beneficial for your members, but is also an opportunity to show off your value to a new audience and possibly snag some new members
- Unique Tools for their Industry: Being able to provide tools to your members that make their day-to-day easier is a huge way to excite them.
These are just a few ideas. Once you have these new ideas in place, it’s also a great idea to create avenues to keep the conversation going such as additional networking opportunities or even online blogs or forums.
Membership Engagement, though it can break down and mean different things to different associations, is obviously incredibly important. The bottom line is that the focus needs to be on your members. Knowing what they want and knowing how to keep them happy is going to keep your association chugging for many years to come.