Member Engagement - More Takeaways from the Higher Logic Super Forum
Kristy Howard, Project Coordinator, National Association of State Procurement Officials
The never ending story of member engagement
Last week I had the opportunity to attend Higher Logic’s Super Forum. On the surface this is just a gathering of community managers that are using their software to promote member engagement and tips on how to better use their product, but in reality it’s so much more. I spent two days surrounded by community managers from every spectrum of the association world and one theme held true. How do we get our members more engaged in our association so they continue to see value in their membership?
After two days of sessions and some great discussion I still don’t have all the answers, but what I do have are some great takeaways that I think hold true for any association.
First, don’t assume you know what your members need, ask them. Let’s face it, the longer we work with an association, the more prone we are to get into a rut of doing the same old things and offering the same benefits that we offered five years ago. Take a quick survey of the membership every now and then to see if the benefits you were offering five years ago are still the benefits that you members need today. Chances are something has changed in the past few years and there are new needs to be met.
Secondly, get your members engaged early. If you are able to show your members the value your association has to offer early in their membership, they are more likely to stay engaged. After all why would your members want to stay engaged if they have not been shown the value you have to offer?
And lastly, don’t overlook the small victories. Sure it would be great if all of our new members were so engaged that they wanted to be your next association president, but let’s be realistic, all of your members aren’t going to be that ambitious, at least on day one. So get creative in finding small ways to engage your members early and to engage your members often. Get creative on casting the net to get members involve in little ways at first. Maybe you need some fresh eyes to review one of your publications before it goes to print, or someone to greet your members at conferences. Reach out to new members and get them involved in micro-volunteerism. Finding unique opportunities to get members involved outside of the traditional committee volunteer role can still promote member engagement and entice them to look into what else you have to offer. Those members that get engaged early, even as micro-volunteers, may still become your most valuable members long term.