Many of you might be wondering what the heck we mean by membership engagement. Hey, completely understandable... but sorry to say that 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. (Smiley Face - I don't do emojis. Now that they have thier own movie I feel like it;s just gotten out of hand.) 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. Oooo... what a perfect segue...
So, to start off, this has nothing to do with marriage. Though it would make a great story - two of your members meeting, falling in love, etc. How do we explain engagement? Here - Imagine your association is 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
To figure out what engagement looks like to you, you need to figure out what actions you want your members to be taking? 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 provide them with something that excites them. As Bonnie Raitt once said, “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About”. Something new, fresh, useful, etc. 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. Provide speakers that provide useflu information that your members will benefit from and that can impact their business
- 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 or improve processes 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 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. Good Luck!