How can organisations measure member engagement?

19 October 2018 by Ahmed Eltohamy

Every organisation, whether it realises it or not, sets its culture through the actions of its people and those it comes into contact with. So how do you make sure your culture embraces your membership base and keeps them fully engaged? Meet the smartengagement Index.


For example, there are some organisations that have an easily identifiable sales culture. Everything they do is focused on the single goal of making sales.  Others are far more focussed on, say, educating their audience and leveraging the sale of services or products that way.

When it comes to membership organisations, we believe that the long term successful associations will be those that display and undertake a culture of engagement. You can have the top membership CRM system there is, but if it is not member-centric then it will not help to uncover membership engagement challenges and or help you leverage the opportunities.

Member engagement has a very important role to play in the strategic development of membership organisations. By understanding member engagement at any given time and looking at past and future trends, the organisation can take actions that should result in an increase in revenue, growth and member retention.

Many membership organisations struggle to retain members, which means a constant drive for new members. This is both costly and soul destroying at the same time. But raising the retention rate through understanding engagement of members would go a long way to helping the long term success of the organisation. As soon as a person or company joins the member organisation that is when engagement needs to start being measured.

If members are not engaged, they are much more likely to leave, resulting in a loss of income and perhaps damage to the organisation's reputation. The reputation issue is especially likely to become a negative issue if the member felt that they had a poor experience. Word spreads like wildfire and is only heightened by the numerous social media channels available that carry messages.

If warning signals - which can include hesitancy to renew, late renewal payments or cancelling attendance at an event - can be reviewed on an ongoing basis through measuring engagement then poor outcomes can be avoided.

As a contrast to warning signals, organisations can find signals to celebrate. These signals help indicate more engaged members which can lead to more spending, greater advocacy and more willingness to volunteer in some capacity.

To stand out from competing membership bodies, you have to offer benefits to attract members. If the benefits are not compelling enough then less people will join. Equally if a member joins and then doesn’t use the benefits they are unlikely to renew as they are not making the most of the benefits.

Few organisations actually analyse member engagement in a meaningful way. Money spent is often used as method of measuring engagement. For example, member subscriptions increase year on year and that could be seen as successful engagement. But is it? What if the subscription income is going up and new members are joining, but existing members are leaving?

Some organisations measure everything they can. They gather data but miss on knowing what to do with it. The basis of effective membership management is that it all needs to relate back to the overall objectives of the organisation. Looking at the objective of improving engagement needs to be further developed to define exactly what success will look like.

Organisations look at small things, maybe even the wrong things. They measure in isolation and interpret in a way that doesn’t help them grow. And rarely do they look at the emotional connection of their members. What sentiment is in the tone of the e mails? Capturing the phone calls, what was the tone? Are they positive or are they negative? What emotions or sentiments are you evoking?

Existing platforms or systems or apps or whatever term you wish to use often fall short in being able to answer the membership engagement question. Just how involved are members? When are they most involved? Are they using your benefits? And what are the trends year on year. If only you had a way of capturing such intelligence? Wouldn’t that be a big help in making strategic decisions for your membership organisation? We think it would.

And that is why we decided to work alongside internal and external thought leaders to come up with an engagement app to help membership organisations measure member engagement. After all we are in the business of helping our clients develop and grow through our technology and services. 

Following a period of research & development we have now developed an app that enables membership organisations to capture engagement data and information together in one space.

Terms such as sentiment, feelings and emotion can now be analysed. And as engagement is inextricably linked to these words this can only be a good thing. You could be forgiven if you think this all sounds very nice but surely it’s not possible to measure such terms. Well now you can.

Everything I have briefly mentioned in this post can be brought together under the smartengagement Index, which is a platform that has been specifically designed with you, the membership organisation in mind. It looks at all the elements mentioned and (because of the in-depth knowledge and experience of member organisations which the smartimpact team has) it takes account of ‘behind the scenes’ science to enable you to capture the true engagement picture of your organisation at any one time.

The smartengagement Index can also be used as a moment in time ‘sensor’ enabling you to keep your finger on the pulse of the feeling and engagement levels in your organisation. What trends can be seen, how engaged is an individual member and how engaged is a set of members in your organisation are all questions that can be addressed through the system. From the individual, to a member set, to the entire member body you can discover engagement in a multitude of ways.

If you’d like to know more about engagement and how to measure those engagement moments read our ebook or call us on 0845 544 2043. 

Member engagement ebook

If you would like a demonstration of the capability of the smartengagement platform to see how it would benefit your organisation please just contact us»