Member engagement and its measurement continues to be a dominant theme in the association world. There are many definitions of the term but generally quantifying engagement includes an assessment of members in terms of their attending, purchasing, participating and volunteering. Often values are attached to each type of interaction and members can be tracked using an association management system. Such a tracking mechanism can create an “early warning system” alerting you to reach out to members who are disengaged and who are at risk of not renewing their membership.
While this approach has merit it overlooks the important fact that your members define engagement and not you. Deciding that certain activities represent a specific engagement value may not accurately depict how your members see their relationship with the association.
What has to be incorporated in this model is information that captures a members beliefs and attitudes about your association and its role in their lives.
Therefore, your engagement survey will have a behavioral component as well as questions devoted to member attitudes.
On the behavioral front you will ask members to indicate their participation/involvement in offerings such as meetings, conferences, committees, educational opportunities and material, your website and social media.
From an attitudinal perspective respondents will be asked to indicate their level of agreement with a number of statements pertaining to their membership in the organization.
Such statements may include:
“I belong to my association primarily for the networking opportunities it provides.”
“I belong to my association primarily for professional development.”
“I’m not sure why I continue to belong to association.”
By combining our behavioral and attitudinal components together we can arrive at an idea of where our members exist along an engagement continuum. From there we can make decisions regarding how best to move members along the continuum.