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Do NOT Make this Mistake Around Member Engagement

Engagement has a LOT of attention in the association world today. Membership models are shifting, and higher engagement seems to be the answer to declining renewal rates and members and prospects asking “what’s in it for me?” So how do we respond?

Measurement!

Metrics!

Scoring!

This is all driven by very good intentions, but it misses a critical step: defining engagement. We start scoring member engagement in our databases in order to figure out who’s engaged, who isn’t, and how we can move the needle on engagement. And many associations are finding this to be a difficult, head-scratching task.  Wonder why? Because you can’t score engagement until you have defined it for your organization. You need to use that definition to understand why certain activities should be weighted more heavily than others and why, otherwise your engagement scoring runs the risk of being either meaningless and unable to help you drive action, or so complex that it ends up sitting on the virtual shelf, unused and gathering dust.

Maddie and I worked with two large associations this past year on engagement projects, and our first step was to have them define what member engagement is at their association. The process was fascinating, and in both cases the definitions that they ended up with included some surprising insights about how engagement really works. The two definitions were quite different (though they shared a similar structure) but they ended up being clear and important guides for their ongoing engagement work.

Without those insights and without the clarity you achieve by defining engagement, your efforts to improve engagement will likely be scattershot and less effective. Do this work up front, and then start working on the activities and the measurement. You’ll see better results.

We are currently writing a white paper about How To Define Engagement And Do Engagement Scoring Right which will contain a valuable template and how-to’s for both creating the definition that works for your association, and how to score engagement touchpoints so that they are meaningful and drive action.  Sign up here to be notified when the white paper comes out and contact Maddie (at maddie@culturethatworks.net) if you need help with your engagement strategies.

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