Measuring membership engagement is critical to associations, unions, and other membership organizations. It helps you to understand which members are engaged and which aren’t so that you can put that knowledge to work.
Let’s look at why you should measure member engagement, what it takes to start measuring membership engagement, and how you can use member engagement measurement to improve interactions with your members.
Why measure member engagement?
Measuring member engagement helps you to understand and improve how well your organization engages with members. It involves establishing engagement metrics around member behaviors that represent low and high engagement with your organization. Then, you can apply scores to each member, giving you an idea of which members are least engaged, which are most engaged, and which are in between. You can then use the information to increase member engagement and interact with members in different ways based on their level of engagement.
According to the 2023 Association Trends Study by Community Brands, increasing membership, improving membership retention, and developing or improving member engagement opportunities are top priorities for membership organizations. Measuring member engagement can help to achieve each of these goals.
How do you measure member engagement?
Measuring member engagement involves several key steps. It’s important to note that even though for-profit retailers have been scoring customer engagement for decades, membership organizations have different priorities than corporations. So, you must look at other factors besides how much a member spends to measure member engagement.
A simple way to get started with measuring member engagement is to define what member behaviors indicate high levels of engagement. These are known as key performance indicators, or KPIs. KPIs should be closely aligned with your organization’s strategic goals and vision. For example, KPIs might be:
- Length of membership
- Number of committees served on
- Number of events attended
- Number of education credits earned
Define three to five KPIs. Narrowing these down can often be the most difficult aspect of the project, but it’s helpful to stick with only three to five to start, as large numbers of KPIs can make tracking more difficult.
Next, assign weight to each one based the relative importance to your organization. Usually, a scale of one to 100 is helpful. So, for example, you have a total of 100 possible points to award a given member, with 0 being no engagement and 100 being fully engaged. Given that, you can take your total of 100 points and divide them amongst your KPIs based on their importance.
For example, you might assign a possible total of 15 of the 100 points to “the length of membership” KPI. Then, you might decide that 0-3 years receives 5 points, 4-5 years receives 10 points, and 6+ years receives 15 points.
Once you’ve assigned points to your KPIs, you can come up with a sum, or “score” for each member.
How to put member engagement scoring data to work
With your membership engagement measurement system in place, you can better understand trends with your members and start putting these insights to use. For example:
- Re-engage members before they lapse. Identify low-engagement members and automatically target them with a re-engagement email campaign.
- Move members to the next level. If you see a pattern of increasing engagement among a group of members, cultivate them for additional opportunities, such as volunteering, speaking at an event, or serving on your board. This approach helps to deepen engagement with your current members.
- Convert non-members to members. Member engagement scoring extends beyond your current members to non-members. For example, find non-members with moderate engagement scores and target them with messages about how, if they join, they can get access to members-only content and events and save on events or other activities they’re already participating in.
- Identify potential donors. Find members who have never donated and have high engagement scores. These can be great donor prospects because they’re clearly passionate about your organization. Target these members with a specific fundraising ask.