To maintain and build membership, your organization must keep a consistent focus on engagement. But why is it so important and how do you know your hard work is paying off?
The more engaged members are the more likely they are to:
- Renew their membership
- Bring other members into the organization
- Volunteer and advocate for the organization
- Attend meetings, purchase additional offerings, continuing education, etc.
Your current members are your best new member recruitment squad. When members are engaged, they want the organization to grow. And when current members recruit new members, it lends additional credibility to your organization.
When everyone understands the importance of engagement, the entire staff, board and other members can set about communicating with them and increasing their involvement. Start by finding which of your members is the most engaged and use their behaviors as a benchmark.
While each organization decides what amount and type of engagement they’re striving for, there are several general milestones on which to focus:
- Members attend at least one in-person event per year – conference, trade show, professional development, etc.
- Members are certified through the organization and maintain that certification
- Members attend at least one off-site event per year – conference calls, webinars, etc.
Associations with the highest renewal rates (80 percent or higher) report that more than half of their members attended an in-person meeting and/or maintained organizational certification, according to a 2012 MGI benchmarking report.
Another key measurement is if members vote in your elections. “By voting, the member has said, ‘Yes, the development of this organization is important to me,’” said Alyse Kittner of AONE in the most recent issue of FORUM magazine.
Keep in mind the all-important questions when it comes to compiling data for member engagement:
- WHO are our members?
- WHAT are the key takeaways they want as part of our organization?
- WHERE are they located?
- WHEN do they engage?
- WHY do they engage?
- HOW do they engage?
If you don’t know, ask! Then interact with them and always be striving to increase their level of engagement so they automatically renew their membership and become natural advocates for your organization.
For more information on how to compile member election data and use elections to engage members, just ask!
How does your organization know its members are engaged? Let us know in the comments below.