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7 KPIs Every Association Should Use to Measure Success

Engagement, Membership Lindsay Rutz

To fully understand how well your association’s efforts and strategies are working, there are several key performance indicators (KPIs) that every association should consider assessing. These metrics will help you determine not only your success, but also what areas need improvements, how well your marketing initiatives are performing, and other career resources you should offer (or improve) for your member base.

If you haven’t measured these 7 KPI’s before or are looking for a better understanding of KPIs, read on to learn more about the importance of these metrics and some examples of how your association can benefit from them. 

1. Return on Investment (ROI)

Investing in association technology and member benefits will help you generate more revenue and improve your member experience. However, your investments must be financially sustainable for your association to carry on its mission. 

For example, if your association hosts an event, whether virtual or in-person, calculate your ROI to determine how effective your event was, where you need to make improvements, and if you should switch focus to marketing your events to draw in more attention. One way to calculate your event ROI, is to subtract the total cost of your event from your sales revenue and divide it by the total cost of the event, then multiply by 100. 

[(Total Sales Revenue – Total Cost of Event) / Total Cost of Event] X 100 = ROI

Another way to calculate your return on investment is through attendee satisfaction. If attendees are overwhelmingly satisfied with your events, this is when you know to shift focus to marketing and promoting your events. Since you were given positive feedback, you can broaden your scope to reach further than just your members. If the feedback you received was unsatisfactory, go back to the drawing board to make improvements before focusing on marketing in order to maintain a return on investment. 

The same goes for association technology – if your members are truly satisfied with your career center, learning management system, and career pathing software, you can prove ROI and continue to invest in these platforms for upgrades and improve engagement and non-dues revenue. The formula for calculating ROI of association technology is as follows: [(Total Revenue Generated from Technology  – Total Cost of Technology) / Total Cost of Technology] X 100 = ROI.

2. Engagement

Engagement is often viewed as subjective, but tracking with specific KPIs provides you an objective way to measure engagement. 

There are a few engagement metrics you’ll want to consider calculating:

  1. Event, webinar, and course/training registrations
  2. Career center usage (job seekers and employers)
  3. Social media (likes, follows, comments, etc.)
  4. Click-through rates on registration and landing pages

Understanding these KPIs help you gage what platforms are most used and which ones need to be upgraded or marketed more effectively to members to improve engagement. This also helps you better understand what your members are interested in so you can continue to provide relevant benefits and events that drive engagement

3. Web Traffic

Your association website homepage;/’/ is most likely your highest visited page by members and non-members. It’s the hub for all your information, which makes it the go-to spot for visitors. Tracking the number of visitors is important because it gives you insights into what days and times are most popular for web page visits. When you know this information, you can then use it to your advantage for marketing purposes, like promoting a webinar or new piece of content so it increases engagement rates. 

You can also track where your visitors came from, like a social media link or blog link, and what pages they spend the most time on. This information helps you gage what channels are most effective to drive website traffic, which site pages are better for marketing initiatives and what content your visitors are most interested in. 

4. Lead-to-Member Ratio

If you generate many leads, but they aren’t converting into members, it could be an indication to rethink your membership marketing strategy and prove the benefits of becoming a member. 

To do so, track how many leads you get in a specific period of time (weeks, months, year) and calculate how many of those have turned into members. This will give you a baseline for how to improve your recruitment strategy. Look at how those leads that turned into members became one – did they convert from attending an event, email marketing campaigns, social media promotions or member referrals? Knowing this information gives you an advantage, because then you know which channels, strategies and marketing efforts work best for your audience.

5. Email Metrics

Whether you’re running an event, recruitment, or any other type of promotional email campaigns, tracking delivery, open, click and unsubscribe rates helps determine how successful those campaigns are. Email marketing is most commonly used for associations and is one of the most effective marketing strategies – but your messaging must resonate with your audience in order to get them to take the action you want. 

Analyze your past email campaigns and see which ones have the highest open and click rates. This tells you that your audience found this campaign content to be interesting or helpful and they decided to check out what you were promoting. A quick tip here is to make sure your subject lines are captivating enough to get them to open the email in the first place (and don’t relegate your message to the Spam folder). 

Also look at the campaigns that drove the most conversions and incorporate that strategy into your next campaign. 

6. Blog Metrics

If your association runs a blog on your website, you’ll want to measure the success of it by looking at the number of blog visitors, subscribers, time on page and click-through rates. The number of visitors and subscribers indicates whether or not your content resonates with your audience. If blog traffic is light, it means the content isn’t what your readers are looking for or interested in. You can use click-through rates to understand what topics your readers are most interested in and use that to create new, updated content.

7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is important for associations to incorporate into blogging and content strategy because it helps you find and attract new leads. 

SEO works by using backlinks and keyword ranking so when a potential lead searches for content and topics related to your association, you’ll be the first to show up on their Google search results. Some strategies to determine high ranking keywords is to research what your target audience searches for the most or look at how similar associations position their SEO strategy. 

The higher your keywords rank, the more likely you are to get organic traffic and grow your lead list.


Understanding how well your association is performing will be beneficial to all aspects of your organization. As you improve upon your KPIs, you can continue to add in others and measure your success even further.

Increasing Your Association's Non-Dues Revenue Strategy

Infographic | 5 Important Metrics for Measuring Career Center Engagement Does your association know what metrics you should be using tracking to measure career center engagement? Download this infographic to start improving career center usage and drive non-dues revenue today! Download now