Are Your Members Engaged? The Signs to Watch for and How to Overcome

Member engagement isn’t constant.

Like most things, it has its ups and downs, rising and falling at various times of the year or in response to external factors like the pandemic. But if your organization has been witnessing unimpressive retention numbers year after year, it’s time for some deeper exploration.

In this article, we’ve outlined the key signs of member disengagement, along with some valuable suggestions to help you overcome it.

How can you tell if people aren’t feeling connected to your organization? Be on the lookout for these telltale signs:

  • Previously active members are nowhere to be found
  • Your renewals are dropping
  • Participation in online learning, networking, and other events is faltering
  • Social media performance is falling flat
  • Volunteers have become scarce

For associations, member engagement is the fuel to accomplish core objectives.

By consistently keeping people interested and interacting, it provides the leverage needed to promote advocacy agendas, increase event attendance, and drive many other types of revenue. If you’re seeing the signs noted above, it’s time to take a critical eye and assess where the shortfalls are occurring. Here are four things to consider:

Your online presence is lackluster.

If you haven’t invested in a strong web strategy, you’re missing out on an important facet of engagement. Today’s members expect plentiful digital options like a membership portal, online resources, and ways to communicate virtually.  If your online presence isn’t up to par, start researching your options.

You haven’t considered personal motivations.

While it may seem counterintuitive to the case for member engagement, it’s important to keep in mind that not every member is looking to be deeply involved with your organization. For these folks, engagement does not necessarily equate to satisfaction. People tend to be highly satisfied with their membership if they perceive that the promise made by the organization is fulfilled. So while some members may relish frequent phone calls and virtual networking events, others may derive their value from your monthly newsletter. That doesn’t mean you should stop working to improve your member engagement strategy, but it does suggest that trying to understand individual motivations and aligning your interactions accordingly also has its place. Adopting a customized or tiered membership model that allows members to better match their level of investment with their particular needs is one clever way to address these individual preferences.

Your value isn’t apparent.

If you think about it, your members are brand ambassadors for your association. As such, they should easily understand what you do, what you offer, and how your work enriches the lives of professionals in your industry. Are you confident that your members know and appreciate your organization’s value? Ultimately, it’s up to them to market your group in an authentic way that attracts others, and it’s up to you to keep people around once they join.

Your competitors are doing it better.

Unfortunately, you could be doing everything right and still lose out to a competing organization. To improve your odds and prevent disengagement, make sure you keep a close eye on the competition. Have they launched a new member initiative? What kind of creative benefits do they offer? As you analyze their successes, don’t forget to consider your own programs and member offerings. Are they up to snuff or could they use some innovative enhancements? One good way to ensure that your offerings are meeting your members’ needs is to ask them what they would like to see.

Are you ready to develop an effective member engagement strategy? We’re here to help! As your experienced technology solutions partner, IBC can help you deliver the goods that will keep your existing members immersed and attract new members, too.  Please contact our friendly team to get started. 

About IBC: At IBC, we have a deep understanding of the critical business needs and processes specific to associations, non-profits, and unions. We ‘get’ your culture, your goals, and what drives you, too. Focused exclusively on and dedicated to delivering the most effective AMS, LMS, and Virtual Event Solutions for our clients, we’re well-versed in identifying and applying the integration techniques that will save you time and money. Since 2001, our cutting-edge products, unparalleled responsiveness, and award-winning services have helped organizations like yours increase their operational and financial performance by leveraging best practices and proven solutions. For more information about IBC, please visit the website at or call 443.603.0215.

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