Members that don’t engage don’t renew. Members that do engage not only stay members longer, but can add value to the membership of every other member in your organization. For associations especially, finding ways to keep members engaged helps them enjoy and contribute to the value of membership.
While the benefits of engaged members are easy to see – finding ways to stimulate membership can be tricky. Associations often get stuck in ruts and use the same strategies year after year. If you’re reading this article, chances are these strategies aren’t working as well as you’d like them to.
Fortunately, we can help you freshen your engagement strategy with a few ideas that might give you a new take on how to stimulate the overall engagement of your members. Each of our tips below takes advantage of digital tools
1. Digital Workspaces
Analog engagement is expensive, for you and your members. Planning and managing events is a burden for you, and attendance is one for your members. Of course, we don’t advocate dismissing in-person engagement, but online options such as digital workspaces can go a long way to boosting your membership’s overall engagement with your organization.
A digital workspace is a place you can create for your members to share their insight, information, and experience concerning a specific objective or subject matter. Moderated by members, for members, Workspaces require very little work from your organization, and let your members create and share value with each other without any work required from your team!
Have an important decision to make that will have a big impact on the lives of your members?
Maybe it’s a struggle to decide if this years conference should take place on the east coast or west.
Maybe you need to drastically update your membership categories.
Maybe you’re looking to rethink your renewal schedule and fees.
Questions like these are big ones. Picking the right decision takes a lot of work, and executing it takes even more. You’ve got to ensure that you’re representing the needs of your members and organization, requiring you to spend a lot of time and energy gathering input. Even then it’s difficult to be totally confident in your decision!
Online Committee’s are a great way to ensure that these decisions are made in the interests of your members, and reduce the work required by your team to manage them. Establishing a committee gives your members the opportunity to have a direct impact on decisions that impact their membership.
By democratizing the decision making process, Committee’s not only ensure that decisions reflect the interests of your members, but drastically reduce the burden on your team to manage the process!
3. Directories and Member Portal Inbox
Directories can be far more to your organization than a simple tools to store and present member data to your other members. The Member365 blog has already detailed how you can use directories as a tool to up-stream members to higher membership categories, but combined with a member inbox accessed through your portal, you can also use them as a powerful tool to stimulate engagement.
Your directories are tools that members use to access the value of other member’s insight and experience. Your directories provide a convenient means to find specialists in any subject matter or skill. With a member inbox, you can provide a convenient way that searching members can connect with the specialists they need. After finding their contact, a member inbox will allow a searcher to reach out to a member directly through your portal. By keeping this conversation, and others like it, on your portal – you can create a big impact on member engagement. This tactic will not only increase overall time spent on your portal, but also help to associate the value enjoyed by members with your organization!
4. Automated Recurring Billing
This one might not seem like an engagement tactic, but a member that doesn’t renew can’t engage, and managing renewals takes a lot of time away from time that could otherwise be spent stimulating engagement.
Automated recurring billing (ARB) is one of the best ways to both ensure that members renew, and maximize the time available to create value for members! A simple and powerful tool, it’s a wonder that member-driven organizations so frequently neglect to take advantage of ARB.
ARB allows you to let members opt-in to the automatic renewal of their membership. So long as they express their consent, your membership management software ought to completely automate the renewal of a members membership. From charging their credit card to managing their contact record and member portal permissions, ARB allows you to set-and-forget a member’s membership in your organization so that you can put your focus into driving member engagement!
5. A Dynamic Member Portal
When your members log into your member portal, do they see the same information every time?
If this is the case – updating your member portal to a service that supports dynamic updating can provide your organization and it’s members a lot of value.
A member portal that dynamically updates is one that will automatically draw information from throughout your portal to provide a bespoke member portal to each of your different members. Every time they log in, they’ll find new, curated updates and content, presented specifically for them.
When a member comes to expect new content every time they log into their member portal account, they’re encouraged to log in a whole lot more! Like checking a mobile app for notifications, members want to know what’s new, and will develop a habit of regularly logging in to see what’s new and fresh with your organization.
6. Votes and Polling
Creating a quick vote, survey, or poll – and sending a quick email invite to your members to participate – is a quick, easy, and approachable tactics that membership managers can use to bring members to login into their account and engage with your member portal.
This tactic not only provides value in terms of the insight you get from your survey, but also helps to re-expose members who haven’t logged in in awhile to their member portal. Seeing updates, new content, and opportunities to participate in workspaces, committee’s, etc – a survey/vote/poll can be a subtle way to re-engage members who’s membership’s may be at risk of churning.
Digital Supplements Analog
Digital engagement tactics are powerful tools that ought to take a prominent position in the tool-set of every membership manager. Easy to set up and automate, these tactics provide a significant boost to overall engagement by offering more engagement channels, and in some cases (like ARB) – offering your team more time to focus on engagement efforts.
Boosting overall engagement, these tools keep your organization front-of-mind for your members, making them more likely to participate in your events, and more likely to enjoy/contribute to the value offered by your organization by sharing their insight and expertise!