The 2 Types of People that Impact Member Engagement
When you work for a member-based organization, it can be challenging to constantly come up with ways to keep your members engaged or even just find trends in their engagement levels. However, once you've determined the trends, then it's up to you to decide how to utilize that data living in your membership software.
With any member-based organization, you need to be aware that every one of your members matters, and they are what keeps your organization alive. Back in school, I was in a sorority, and each year we would have a "Rush" to bring in new members. During the actual Rush experience, we relied on our most active members (ideally this would be everyone in the chapter) to showcase what made our sorority stand out among the others on campus. And once we had extended a "bid" to these women and they accepted, the engagement process didn't suddenly end there. In fact, it was just the beginning. It was up to us to make sure these new members were actively engaged, and that they were aware that we wanted them to become a part of this organization for the long-haul.
It's important to pay close attention to the members (both incoming and current) who are enthusiastic about your organization from the get-go. In the case of my sorority, these women were easy to spot. They were the ones who were always excited to attend your "parties" during Rush. They were ecstatic when they became official members, and as time went by, they continued to be highly engaged participants. Then, you also have the members who become your champions once they're actually in the sorority and have had a chance to get acclimated to everything.
As with any incoming and/or current members, it's likely you'll encounter those who just aren't that into you—whatever the reason might be. Ideally, an organization wants their entire membership to be enthusiastic participants and have zero disengaged members. We all want that, right? However, the reality is that isn't the case for most organizations. You're going to have a mixed bag of members, but you have the power to decide whether you want to make the time and effort to change their perception(s).
At my sorority, when we noticed apathetic new members, we asked ourselves and the members what we could do to make their experiences within the sorority better. Were we not engaging with them enough? Did they not like our activities? Was Greek life not what they expected? By asking these questions, we were able to get a better understanding of what appealed to them and what didn't.
Here are two types of members you should reach out to when looking to move the member engagement needle at your organization.
Here's an excerpt from Part 3 of our Scoring Member Engagement eBook.
Find the rising stars
Using Trend Analysis, you can keep an eye out for members whose engagement level is on the rise. Find them early, latch on to them with personal outreach, and find ways to bring them in even tighter. A prime example of this occurs when someone volunteers for a committee. Even if the member is not accepted into the committee, the mere fact that he/she has offered to help is a huge piece of information to be part of the KPIs you use to drive CES. Why? Because this individual’s willingness to devote time to your organization is, by far, a higher level of engagement than money in nearly all cases. Keep an eye out for leading indicators of future engagement like this, and make sure that key players in your organization (not just staff, but also highly engaged connectors and influencers in the membership and on the board) reach out to these folks and warmly bring them in.
Reach out to fading stars
Again, using Trend Analysis, find these folks before they go lights out completely. It is much easier to reverse the trend of declining engagement earlier than later. If a long-term member who has been highly engaged for years is slowly pulling back, find out why. Have an executive personally call that member to thank them for their years of membership and engagement and ask what the association can do to create more value for them. Don’t delegate this to a lower level staff member. Make it a priority for executives to get this level of member insight and it can open up entirely new worlds of opportunity.
Choosing to look at your member data from a different angle can be challenging when you're accustomed to viewing it in a way that was always the "norm" at your organization. However, once you make the decision to view your data from a different perspective, you'll discover insightful trends about your members that can help improve engagement.
Are you ready to take the necessary steps to drive stronger engagement among your membership? Download the 3-part series Scoring Member Engagement and get started today!
About Chandra Chakravarthi
As a Coordinator of Content, Branding, & Buzz at Aptify, Chandra supports the department with content creation, digital advertising, and overseeing the social media channels. Outside of Aptify, you can find her exploring Chicago and eating too much pizza while she waits for her letter from Hogwarts.