Higher Logic Blog

Is Member Engagement Tied to Private Online Communities? [Data]

Written by Joshua Paul | May 4, 2012 at 12:35 PM

69% More Associations Saw Member Engagement Increase if They had a Private Online Community

Is a private online member community worth your organization's time and investment? At Socious, we are in the process of crunching the numbers for the 2012 State of Online Communities in Associations report (thank you to all of the association executives who participated). We want to share some of the preliminary data with you regarding how private online member communities can impact a membership organization.

The Effect of Private Online Member Communities on Associations

The following charts reveal how associations that have private online communities perform, in relation to associations that do not have private member communities, in the areas of:

  • Membership
  • Member Satisfaction
  • Member Engagement
  • Event Attendance
  • Non-Dues Revenue

Each bar represents the percentage of associations surveyed who saw key performance indicators increase, remain flat, or decrease over the past 24 months.

The data suggests that associations with private online communities are 69% more likely to see member engagement increase than association without private member communities. 66% of the associations surveyed, which have a private online member community, reported an increase in engagement. Only 39% of the respondents that do not have a private online community saw increases in member engagement during the same period.

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Other highlights include:

  • 23% more associations that have a private online community reported a membership increase.
  • In relation to associations without a private online community, 15% more associations with a private online community saw member satisfaction increase.
  • 23% more associations with a private member community indicated that non-dues revenue increased compared to associations without a private community.

An association that doesn't have a private online community is more likely to see flat or decreasing member engagement.

In every KPI category, more associations without a private online community saw decreases compared to those organizations with private communities.

Online Community Takeaway

All of the benefits to key business measures are tied closely together. Engagement breeds member satisfaction which contributes to higher membership and revenue.

Association executives can use this survey data to educate their boards and staff about their online community strategy and use it as a guide for what to expect when implementing a private online community for members.

Keep in mind that private online member communities are not a silver bullet to improving your organization's performance. Success takes the right online community platform for your organization, as well as a tremendous about of planning and management.

The State of Online Communities in Associations Report surveyed over 250 associations in early 2012. Subscribe to the Socious Online Community Newsletter to be notified when the final report is published.