Member engagement is one of the most important factors in the overall success of any association. Most associations rank it higher in importance than member satisfaction and even growth and retention rates. Yet fewer associations actually track member engagement, primarily because it’s ill-defined and you simply can’t measure and track what you can’t define.
How Do You Define Member Engagement?
The problem with defining member engagement is that it’s different for every association out there. Loosely, you can define it as how much members value your organization and are willing to invest in it. Those investments may be made in terms of devoting their time, offering their skills and knowledge, donating their money, or some combination of these.
Some organizations would rank their member engagement according to how many of their members attend regular meetings. This might be attending one conference per calendar year, or regular attendance at monthly meetings. Others would define engagement as how much members interact with their online content—such as reading a blog, reacting or commenting on social media, or regularly viewing webinars or podcasts. Other associations might measure engagement according to how often members volunteer their time to the organization’s events or causes. Determine how you will define member engagement, and then use AMS software to collect the metrics necessary to measure it.
Where Do You Want Members to Engage?
Does your association value in-person attendance over online participation? Perhaps the converse is true; you judge members’ engagement more by how they interact with your online content than how many darken the doors of your meetings and events. There is no right or wrong way (and you can even track both), but you need to assign a level of importance to where and how members engage with your association in order to measure and track it for progress. Once you know what you’re tracking, you can begin to develop better means for engaging your members. For example, say you’ve decided that regular viewers of your podcast are your most engaged members — now you can begin developing better podcasts to improve that particular metric. AMS software can help you track all types of member engagement, including live events and online content.
When/How Often Do You Want Your Members to Engage?
Which do you consider to be a higher level of engagement:
an annual contribution to your major fundraiser, or a daily
Like and Share via social media?
You can also define frequency differently. For example, some associations would consider a once-per-year attendance at their live conference to be a high level of engagement, while others would consider daily interaction with the association blog to be a higher level of engagement. You might consider regular volunteering more important than occasionally buying promotional products, or value monthly donations more highly than quarterly attendance at meetings.
After you’ve decided what type of interaction constitutes a high level of engagement, you will need to determine what frequency of interaction it takes to achieve a high level of member engagement. The right online membership system will allow you to collect and track these metrics, as well.
Remember, you don’t have to track a gaggle of different metrics to get a handle on member engagement. A few simple to track—easy to collect and measure—metrics are all you really need to measure and make improvements on engagement. Are you sure your AMS software is up for the job? Find out now when you take our AMS assessment.