Tamsen Haught - May 19, 2014

Defining Metrics to Measure Association Member Engagement

imagesassesspage A popular topic of conversation amongst associations is member engagement because  this is what allows an association to survive and thrive. Studies have shown that high levels of member engagement result in higher renewal rates.  So what measurements should your association take in order to successfully maintain high recruitment and retention levels?  We suggest you begin with the following steps to identify the most important metrics  for your organization:

How to Start

Start out by defining engagement.  Identify the ways in which individuals can interact with your association and why they’re interacting.  Determine the value of each one of the activities they interact the most with, for example, conference attendance may be worth more than webinar attendance –which are important factors to keep in mind. You can also decide how far back you want to analyze your activity history, while it may make sense to go digging through last year’s data, how important would it be to analyze data from 3 years ago?  It is important to realize that these metrics may change as you better understand your members’ preferences and which activities are important to them.

Measuring Member Activity

Associations need to know why people renew.  Analyze your data to discover the trends and patterns that successfully capture member activity.  By doing this you will be able to determine why your members are renewing and what services or products  keep them coming back for more. Measuring which events drive purchases allows your association to make the right decisions on which  events, or professional development offerings, are the most successful.  It is also important to identify the members who are continuously involved with your association. This allows you to create  a profile of engagement which can help target other individuals with the same match who may be interested in joining.

What’s next?

After you have determined what is important to your association to meet their member’s engagement goals, use this information to select  those members with the longest membership tenure and those who left after a year.  This will allow you to compare members with similar profiles as well as lapsed members (who did not renew) in order to pin-point your at-risk members.  Creating  a  profile of your most profitable members enables  you to develop marketing programs targeted to other members with similar interests and activity levels.

Defining the key metrics to measure member engagement is an evolving process that is unique to your association. We encourage our clients to keep it simple and let your personal insights guide the process.
Consider utilizing data visualization tools to illustrate the trends and patterns of member engagement.
There may be a story hidden in your membership data that your team can share with a wider audience to build a more successful organization.

Written by Tamsen Haught