Most associations that I speak with would like to be able to pick up the phone and check in with each member, set up personal office visits, or send hand-written thank you notes to each member come renewal time. That is the nature of membership organizations. It is all about people. However, the conversation quickly turns to how to scale your member engagement. How can you keep thousands of members engaged in your organization, up to date on issues you are advocating for, and talking to one another?
Though online community building in the association world has been around for almost a decade, the steps for making it work for an association are a lot less clear than it is for one-to-one member engagement. At a recent ASAE event on delivering "Love Bombs" to your members, 80% of the discussion covered ways to improve one-on-one member engagement. When the question of how to keep to thousands, or tens of thousands, of member engaged was raised, the room grew much quieter.
The reasons that the membership professionals, which I spoke with after the event, gave for the handwringing over mass member engagement ranged from the difficulty many associations have collecting and analyzing online member engagement metrics to the need for more case studies on member engagement's impact on organizational objectives.
While the answer is unique to each organization, it probably includes a combination of personal attention, online engagement, email communication, and face-to-face interaction. That brings us to this month's poll in the Member Engagement Group on LinkedIn.
In my experience with associations and other nonprofit membership organizations, those who work with technology tend to think that it is critical to engaging member. Those who are not as comfortable with technology place less importance on the web to keep members engaged.
Please vote and leave your comments on this blog or in the LinkedIn group.