There’s a reason people join your association. They want to connect with other professionals, access valuable resources, and educate themselves on industry trends. As an association manager, you do your best to continually improve your offerings and better the member experience. However, while a member may appreciate the member benefits, that doesn’t mean they feel connected to your organization. Let’s flesh it out below.

Member Satisfaction vs. Member Connection

A study recently released by Community Brands, a market-leading technology solution company, called Member Loyalty Study: A Deep Dive into Member Preferences and Retention, ” found that only 55 percent of respondents felt a connection with their professional organization, even though overall satisfaction rates were at 84 percent,” (Associations Now). Even if your members are satisfied with your resources and the services you offer, that doesn’t mean they feel connected to your group.

Take a look at your member engagement strategy. Does it serve each vertical? If your association has a variety of groups or communities, a general engagement strategy won’t work. Your millennial members have different needs than say 20+ year members. Survey your members to find out their wants, needs, and what they like and dislike about your association. This information will not only help you build strategy but also show your members that you care about their input.

Verticals of Engagement

Not only do you have multiple verticals in terms of profession or age but you can further group individuals based on their engagement levels. “It’s particularly helpful to know where they [members] stand as far as loyalty to the organization,” (Associations Now). The Community Brands study advises categorizing members into “four metrics: satisfaction, likelihood to renew, connection, and likelihood to recommend the organization.” Obtain metrics through surveys, polls, member interviews or reports.

After compiling these numbers, analyze the different levels of engagement. Who is on the lower end? How can you reach them and increase their engagement?

Consider Member Needs

Take a pulse on member needs. Use your survey to identify specific pain points. How can you help them? By offering solutions to their problems you’ll see better engagement and feel more connected with members. “It’s a member-driven approach… They’re telling you what they want, they’re telling what they need, and you’re aligning your benefits, your content, and your value proposition to them,” says Amanda Myers, director of product marketing, member solutions for Community Brands.

The Business of Relationships

Let’s take it back to basics. An association is basically a collection of relationships between professionals, right? Your goal as an administrator is to nurture these relationships and help them grow. “Though 74 percent of respondents said their organizations request their data—like age, gender, career stage, or communication preferences—less than half say they receive content based on that data. Associations should be pursuing personalization and targeted communications, both in what content they send members and in how they send it,” (Meyer).

Leverage member data by creating campaigns, resources and engagement opportunities that apply to different verticals.

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