Membership Tips

01 July 2022

Improving Membership Engagement

There’s no membership organisation without its members. While attracting members is extremely important, retaining these members is even more crucial to the continuous growth of the organisation.  

Building a loyal member base is a time-oriented continuous process that involves strong, focused relationships and engagement between your organisation and its members. When there’s high membership engagement, members feel a personal connection to the organisation and are more likely to renew their memberships in the future.  

But how are you supposed to raise membership engagement for your organisation?  

These four essential ways will boost your engagement and have your members renew their contracts year after year! 

  1. Communities and Forums 

One thing that really boosts member engagement is communication between members. You can help your members achieve this bond by creating or encouraging them to create active local communities and forums.  

A strong community formed among your members helps keep them engaged. They can either be in-person or virtual. They can include newsletters, publications, face-to-face meetings, social networks, online surveys, member directories, online forums, etc.  

Due to the recent pandemic and distribution of members around the world, it is more advisable to encourage online communications between members so as to keep them engaged all year-round.  

The essence of these communities and forums is to give your members a safe and controlled space where they can come together to discuss and share interests. In addition, your membership organisation having access to these forums will provide you with greater insight and an in-depth understanding of what your members are looking for. 

  1. Local Organising Groups 

Communication between members is indeed an important aspect of memberships. These people became members because of their shared values and interests and the overarching sense of belonging they wish to be a part of. Your organisation must help tighten this bond by having active local and online groups.  

These local groups are catered to the smaller groups in the local community. You can group your members into: 

  1. Sub-committees, based on geography or sector. 
  1. Niche markets within your membership pool, based on location or job function.   

Organising local community groups will help in keeping members engaged, thus improving membership retention. When people have things in common and relate with one another through frequent joint discussions and activities, they unconsciously form a close bond with one another and will be less likely to leave the group.  

You can create local volunteering opportunities for your members or set up a networking “Lunch and Learn” event. You can also create online groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to prompt discussions that otherwise wouldn’t take place.   

  1. Networking Events 

There’s more value meeting in person; and to participants in a membership organisation, nothing conveys a sense of exclusivity than a members-only event invitation. When members see you and their fellow members in the flesh, they feel like they are part of a community focused on shared goals and mutual benefits. Organised events encourage members to network and increase the perceived value of their memberships in your association.  

Networking events could be held monthly, quarterly, annually, or biannually. They include anything that demonstrates the value of a membership to your members and the value of your organisation such as: 

  • A dinner and awards ceremony to give special consideration to your most active members. 
  • An introductory/welcome dinner to celebrate newly joined members. 
  • Free workshops or seminars with special guests from your industry to give lectures and have discussions with your members. 
  • Special frequent occasions catered to members in different locations where they can give talks, discuss and share ideas, etc. 
  • A simple cocktail hour. 
  • A tour of your facilities. 
  • A hands-on activity. 

Holding events may require extra coordination by your team, but the sense of community you can foster with an in-person event is definitely worth the planning time. Your organisations’ budget and scope will determine how elaborate your special events can be.  

Members-only events present additional opportunities for member engagement before and after the event itself. Encourage select members to help plan the event, and seek feedback from all the members who attended after the event. This will make them feel important and valuable. 

  1. Mentorship (Member-to-Member) 

Another way to increase member engagement is by encouraging member-to-member mentorship. Member-to-Member mentoring is a self-directed mentoring program that gives members the opportunity to be matched with a mentor, or mentee, who is also a fellow member of the organisation. The program allows members learn from each other, share career advice and experiences and form new connections.  

Matches will be based on a combination of factors, including experience level, time zones, desired competencies, and the number of applicants currently in the pool. Members will be paired based on their experiences, backgrounds and goals. 

Member-to-Member mentorship is intended to be flexible and self-paced, where each pair can define some terms of their partnership like duration of mentorship and method of communication (through Skype, Telephone, or technology platform created by the organisation), etc. 

One of the best things about the member-to-member mentorship is that it benefits all the parties involved; the mentors, mentees and the organisation. It’s a relatively simple way to engage members and add value to their membership.  A win-win-win for all! 

Using these 4 strategies to boost membership engagement ensures that your organisation is fully involved and invested in the wellbeing of its members. It also boosts membership retention with the heightened quality in membership care.  

By demonstrating that your organisation genuinely cares about its members, your members will in turn feel valued and more involved with the community they signed up for.