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4 Ways to Improve Member Engagement With Score Cards

Consistent interaction with your members is what takes your association to the next level.

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What association doesn't want to improve member engagement? Keeping your members engaged keeps your members contributing, attending events, networking with other members, and paying their member dues.

There are a few avenues to engage your members like hosting conferences, having volunteer opportunities, or interacting on social media. But, do you really know which of your members are engaged?

According to the Global Membership and Fundraising Benchmark Performance Survey report done by Advanced Solutions International (ASI), 35% of associations saw an increase in engagement in 2016. This is down from the 41% who saw an increase in the year before. Membership engagement may be down overall, but carefully tracking which members are engaged (and who isn't) can help your association create a strategy to tackle this engagement problem.

How do you track which members are fully engaged and which are not?

33% of associations reported that lack of engagement was their number one reason for membership lapse. Tracking which members are engaged can help with fixing that lapse.

One way that has proved effective is a scoring method. It’s as simple as setting a score for every point of engagement and then keeping a record of each member’s score. Your association determines their own scoring system, so it will be different for every association. As will the engagement.

The first thing you need to do is narrow down what you consider a scorable engagement. This can be anything from opening an email to attending an event, but you need to figure out how you want your members engaging. Some good ones that you might want to include are:

  • Website visits: Consider setting up a system of scoring the pages they interact with.
  • Interactions on social media: Follows, likes, retweets, comments, ratings.
  • Attending an event or meeting: If your association hosts different types of events, consider a different score for each type based on the level of engagement required by attendees.
  • Referring a new member.
  • Email interactions: Did they open the email? Did they interact with links in the email?

Each of these can have whatever score you want to set for them based on how you want your members engaging.

Once you know what you’re scoring, you need to figure out the different levels of engagement your members can have. What do you want your engaged members to be scoring?

One way to do this would be to break down the scores into three categories: fully engaged, mildly engaged and somewhat or not engaged. If you have a scoring system that goes up to 10 then you could say that 8-10 is fully engaged, 7-5 is mildly engaged, and 4-0 is somewhat or not engaged. Your association can modify this method any way necessary to fit your situation. After that, it’s just a matter of calculating scores for each member and determining who fits in which category.

Your association will be able to see who it is that they should be targeting for more engagement and who already engages with you consistently. So, how do you get the low scorers to engage more?To do this your association needs to come up with an engagement plan.

In fact, only 20% of participating associations reported having a formal engagement plan in the ASI 2017 report. Follow these four key steps to track and engage your entire membership and ultimately engage more people in your association.

1. Analyze their scores

If they’re all scoring low in one section, then your association can see what needs improvement. Maybe you need to have more events and target ads toward those members. Maybe they aren’t interacting enough online. Whatever the majority of your low scorers aren’t engaging with probably needs improvement.

Also take a look at demographics. This scoring system could help improve your membership diversity issues too. Maybe Millennials aren’t engaging as much as the Baby Boomers are. Or men are interacting with the association more than women. Economic factors in members might be something to look at too. If there’s a trend, your association will know who needs to be targeted more and can plan how to target a certain group.

2. Actually engage with members

Your members joined for a reason, so make sure you know what it is! Send out surveys or questionnaires asking them what they want from your association. Getting this type of initial input is an excellent starting point. You can target your low scorers as they start to disengage. The American Homebrewers Association set up a system of scoring married with a re-engagement campaign. They now monitor their membership on a monthly basis. So, when a member is scoring lower, they target their re-engagement campaign emails at them to pull them back in.

Feedback is critical. Ask members why didn’t they want to attend the last event you held or what types of webinars they would be interested in. Of course some things will be out of your control, but it could be how you marketed the event or the content of the webinar. Maybe your members rather see information distributed on social media rather than emails.

Consider anonymous surveys too. Some people don’t want to give feedback if they know their name is attached to it. By making it anonymous, you might get harsher feedback, but it will help your association grow.

3. Plan ahead

It is crucial to sit down with your team and figure out your association's goals before you start any new engagement efforts. There are baseline questions you should want to answer and other objectives you might have. What percentage of members do you want in the fully engaged category? Is there a demographic your association wants (or should) to cater to? What are your ultimate goals for member engagement? Once you have those outlined, you can start planning out new strategies for engagement.

Plan when you are going to send out emails or invites to events. After you gather some preliminary data, take the time to look at statistics on what times of the year you have the highest engagement scores. Your association can then plan how to interact with members during and outside of that timeframe.

4. Stay consistent

Make sure that you keep up with members. Don’t just engage with them until they meet the "right score." Consistent interaction is what takes your association to the next level.

Adding additional forms of interaction to your association can be of a benefit to your members. Online community membership software such as Socious or Abila adds enhanced features to your online community that could ultimately increase member engagement. Software like this can create a forum for your members online, help with event planning, and conveniently keep track of your engagement scoring.

You want to make sure members keep coming back year after year. With member scoring, your association can expertly track when a member’s engagement begins to decrease so you're able to reach out to reengage them. And, don't forget: Engagement is a two-way street.