The phrase “member engagement” is big in the association world. But what does it really mean, and how do we measure it?
Member engagement runs deeper than member satisfaction. You would use the word “satisfaction” to describe a member’s attitude toward your organization. But engagement covers both attitudes and behaviors, and gives you a measure of your relationship with your members. Retention is all about building strong relationships, so it’s really important to know where you stand with your members.
Recently, the Loyalty Research Company (LRC) did research to determine the key indicators of member engagement, and found that engaged members are more likely to:
It boils down to this: a strongly engaged member equals higher non-dues revenue and strong participation. A weakly engaged member is less likely to buy “extras” and rarely participates.
You should know who your highly-engaged and moderately-engaged members are, and what aspects of your membership value proposition are most important to them. That information should drive your business strategies. You’ll want to put the most effort and resources into the initiatives that are most important to these groups because that’s how you’ll keep them, and attract new members.
So how do you determine an engaged member from a non-engaged member?
You check in with them through surveys and other forms of member research. Matt Braun from LRC says when it comes to measuring engagement in surveys, it’s not a one-question solution. You’ll want to include questions that cover:
The combination of responses to those questions will tell you whether the member is strongly engaged, moderately engaged, or weakly engaged.
If your members’ behaviors don’t seem to be matching up with the answers they provided on the survey, that’s a sign you may need to dig a little deeper to find out what’s going on. But this is a good place to start.