There has been much discussion in the Association world about Member Engagement. But, what is it exactly? And, what should you do about it?
What follows is the first in a series of blog posts covering these sometimes difficult, but timely questions.

What is Member Engagement?

A typical definition goes something like this:
“Member engagement is the result of a member investing time and/or money with the association in exchange for value. The more of these precious resources they invest, the more engaged they are.”

When applying this definition to your organization, remember these four key points:
  • every organization engages their members in a different way.
  • there is no overarching right or wrong way, some methods will work better than others, and what works now may not be what works later, i.e. “be flexible.”
  • there is no easy button: Member Engagement is the way, (or part of the way) you operate your organization, it is not on its own the adoption of a particular tool, or set of tools. Yes, there are certain tools which can be used to engage your members, but you must use them properly. the acquisition of tools and the allocation of staff resources in the service of Member Engagement will cost money, so it is best to have a budget in mind, and a strategy to defend that budget. And, of course, that strategy should generate a ROI which allows you to adequately defend such an expenditure.
  • before you “make the big spend” on Member Engagement, we suggest you proceed through the following planning process:
Where to begin?
You need to first determine if your members are engaged. To do so, take a look at a few things:
  1. Define What Matters Most: What are  your objectives?
  2. What are the current Opportunities for Members to Engage?
  3. Measure Your Current Engagement
    Then, you need to:
  4. Create a Member Engagement Strategy
  5. Implement a Member Engagement Strategy
The next post will explore the first step: Defining What Matters Most.
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