Member engagement is what makes associations successful. Member engagement should be every association’s first goal because everything from revenues to member satisfaction to advancing the profession or industry flows from this single goal.
Member engagement is everyone’s job
Some association professionals argue that member engagement is the membership department’s job. Not so. Member engagement is everyone’s responsibility. Every communication, interaction, benefit, service, product, or event impacts each member’s level of member engagement, so each department plays a role. More CEO’s are implementing measures, like engagement scoring, or departmental and cross-organization goals to emphasize the importance of enhancing member engagement for every staff member.
Curious staff grow engaged members
Some association professionals say that associations are in the business of providing professional development and networking. Members, however, expect us to be in the business of helping them find solutions to their problems. Curious staff who seek to understand members, their careers, projects, and stresses almost cannot help but start finding ways to help solve members’ problems. There are a handful of job postings that list curiosity as a necessary skill for an association professional and going forward; curiosity will be the skill or mindset every association executive must possess.
Strategic thinking fosters member engagement
Some association professionals say their job is to execute with excellence. Every professional job includes two categories of tasks; administrative and strategic. Some examples of administrative duties are maintaining the member database, sending renewal notices, and scheduling committee meetings. Strategic tasks are discovering what our member’s most pressing problems are, testing solutions, and crafting engaging messaging. Administrative tasks generally are urgent and take time, and so it is easy to give our focus to them. Associations with the most engaged members strike a happy balance between administrative and strategic tasks.
Amanda Kaiser is a member engagement consultant in the association community. Amanda writes a popular weekly blog at SmoothThePath.net.