If you read any trade publication today, you know that Association executives are jumping on the engagement bandwagon in higher and higher numbers. It seems the more I talk to executives, they get that when their members stay active in their organization, they are most likely to stay on and also draw in new members. In this article I bring together two key ways to approach engagement that are sure to power up your member management:
2 Ways to Power Up Membership Management Software
I have made the case in previous articles that the best fit membership management software—software that supports all your engagement-related goals—is a key to success in attaining your membership goals. If you agree, here are some ways to think about improving (powering up) engagement opportunities at your association:
Interactivity based on like-minded interests.
Practice the Philosophy of Engagement Judo
What is the practice of engagement Judo? Let me explain.
But, before I do. I want to be clear and in full disclosure. I am not an expert in Judo. Simply put, my extent of knowledge comes from taking my son to a birthday party where Judo was taught. And, becoming intrigued by it’s principles. So, there you have it.
A true confession!
That disclosed, I was intrigued to find out that the two hallmarks of Judo’s philosophy are maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit. How do these relate to member engagement? Good question.
Members want real value from their Associations, and nothing speaks value like activities that members view as having maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit.
Here’s why: unless your members are mostly retirees, they tend to be busy people who choose to spend their time as efficiently as possible. And in today’s economy, they also want maximum value from their Association-related expenses.
But they don’t just want these for themselves. They are likely to feel some loyalty to and commonality with fellow members, and typically, want the other members to gain value from their membership as well—the mutual welfare and benefit aspect of the Judo philosophy.
The good news? If members believe their time and money is being well-spent by membership in your Association, they will want like-minded friends and colleagues to benefit, too, meaning that these members will become your best recruiters.
Note that I stress it’s the members’ view of value that matters. My recent blog posts underscore that Association executives who meet around a table and create a list of benefits for their members instead of making the effort to directly learn each member’s interests and preferences may find themselves at a loss—of members.
The bottom line? Make maximum efficiency and mutual welfare and benefit your Association’s new mantra to retain and grow an active membership.
Boost Interactivity Based on Like-Minded Interests
Whoa. You may ask. Didn’t every member join my Association because of a like-minded interest?
Absolutely. But not every golfer, or realtor, or businesswoman, or ___ (fill in the blank of your type of Association) shares the same needs, preferences, or even extracurricular lifestyles as all the others in your at-large group. By taking the best-practice approach to membership engagement, you will discover a number of like-minded segments of your membership group—smaller subgroups with interests and preferences that are more closely aligned.
If your Association includes men and women, are there women in the group who prefer, say, learning new management skills from other women?
If your Association is based on a business profession, is there a segment who prefers stretching their professional expertise to a different but perhaps related profession?
Is there a segment of your membership who takes an interest in philanthropy? In volunteering? In purely socializing? In offering scholarships?
Once you undertake a closer segmentation of your membership, engage a small subcommittee from each segment to draft programming ideas that will generate enthusiasm among members within that segment. Rotate the program committee’s membership annually to keep ideas new and current.
Here, too, the best fit software can support your efforts to increase member interactivity and enthusiasm.
Certainly, no membership management software is going to help unless you have some focus. Your focus on a strategic engagement approach ensures the sustainability and success of your Association.
But, it doesn’t hurt to have the right tools either. And, you may not be able to find the tools you are looking for.
If this is the case with you, we can help with making sure you have just the right software to reward your work with maximum efficiency and benefit. We marry your needs and budget with software already available to fit them.
Call on us with any questions.