Revisit your association’s benefits to improve member engagement and loyalty

Are your members satisfied with the benefits they receive from your organization? Community Brands’ latest study shows you might have room for improvement.

To keep members happy and engaged long-term, it’s important to deliver the benefits that matter most to them. The Community Brands Member Engagement and Loyalty Study suggests associations might have work to do in this area.

The study looks at how member engagement and loyalty have changed over time. It also digs in to see what’s behind member sentiments and behaviors based on career stage and other factors.

One section of the study pulls together multiple data points for a gap analysis around member benefits. It shows where organizations are strong, where they’re weak, what benefits they should maintain, and what areas are less important.

The analysis shows organizations are doing well in several areas that are important to members. These include sharing industry information, providing a code of ethics, and offering training. But the results also show organizations have more work to do around key areas, including offering job opportunities, gathering feedback, and providing targeted and valuable content.

Here are two ways to use this data as inspiration for a review of your association’s benefits that will lead to improved member engagement and loyalty

1. Evaluate the benefits you provide your members.
The Member Engagement and Loyalty Study looks at member benefits from multiple perspectives: what benefits members value most and how the importance of benefits changes based on member loyalty segments and career stage. Review the study’s findings, and be sure to note the data about how member priorities change throughout the member career journey.

Consider areas the study indicates are strengths for most organizations and evaluate your association’s performance. For example, is your organization regularly sharing industry information to members via your online community? How about your code of ethics: Is it updated and relevant? And what about training: Are you addressing members’ preferences for learning in a variety of ways – both in-person and online?

TIP: YourMembership Learning is an easy-to-use learning management system (LMS) that helps you deliver a great online learning experience.

Next, consider the benefits that might need improvement. For example, when it comes to job opportunities, the 2019 survey data highlights a trend seen across multiple Community Brands studies: Job opportunities are important for acquisition, as well as retention, among those early in their careers. But those who work at professional membership associations (“Pros”) do not see job opportunities as important as members do, and only 12 percent say their organization is doing very well delivering job opportunities.

How do you think your organization stacks up in these areas?

TIP: With the right technology and some proven techniques, your online career center can be a great source of engagement (and even added revenue) for your organization. For ideas on how to grow your career center, read the paper, 101 Ways to Grow Your Career Center.

2. Listen to your members.
While it’s important to do a self-assessment of your organization’s benefits, there’s no better way to know which benefits are most important to your members, and how well you’re delivering   them, than to ask them (a bonus, as asking for feedback is an area for improvement for organizations!)

Here are some ideas for gathering and assessing member feedback:

    • Regularly read their comments on social media and your online community.
    • Send them a survey at least once each year to ask them about their experience. Ask if they’re getting everything they need and expect from your organization. Ask what benefits are most important to them. Ask them to rate the benefits your organization provides. Include questions about what you can do to improve the benefits that are most important to them.
    • Consider setting up a member advisory group and meet with them (in person or via web/phone conference) at least once or twice each year to get their input on how to improve member benefits. Be sure to include members who are newer to the organization as well as longer-term members.
    • Establish a team that meets regularly to review member feedback and determine how to fine-tune your benefits to provide a better member experience.

TIP: Make sure your association management software (AMS) has built-in survey functionality with a variety of ways to distribute the survey. For example, with YourMembership AMS, you can build a survey and promote it through a link in an email, in the member feed of your online community, and in the announcement area in your online community.

There are many aspects to the topic of what benefits members value most and which ones have the biggest impact on renewal. Be sure to review the findings from the Member Engagement and Loyalty Study and ask your members for their thoughts on the topic. Evaluating and fine-tuning your benefits as well as putting in place the right technology to support your strategy are big steps toward improving member engagement and loyalty.

Learn more about how YourMembership helps you provide a great member experience.

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