What Level of Engagement Do Members Really have with their Association?

Everyone would agree that a critical opportunity for associations is to engage members as customers of the products and services made available by an association.

But we wondered what proportion of members typically purchased or engaged the association each year through some type of product, service, or activity. To find out, we included the following question in our 2011 Membership Marketing Benchmarking research.
“What proportion of your members do you estimate engage with your organization in the following areas EACH YEAR?”
The chart below highlights the average percentage of members who used or were involved with each product offering. Some members may have used just one product others may have participated in every engagement opportunity. So this data does not show a cumulative level of engagement, but a product by product level of usage.

What stands out to me is the relatively low level of usage members have with the products and services offered by associations. Is it fair to say that members may be primarily members for the products and services that membership includes? What do you think?


David M. Patt, CAE said...

You would have to ask members why they joined and what they hoped to get from their membership. They may value the affiliation or an even an opportunity that becomes available through membership.

"Engagement" may need to be defined in another way.

It would also be interesting to see the correlation between membership renewal and use of membership benefits.

Wayne Carley, WWC Associates LLC said...

Tony - it seems to me that one major member benefit that many professional associations offer, namely the journal or magazine, is missing from this list. I suspect that the percentage who read the monthly (or other regular cycle) publication would be higher than most of these others. That's why they're "armchair" members; they're sitting down to read what we produce.

Tony Rossell said...

Hi David -- Thanks for the comment. You will be glad to know that we did crosstab the use of the specified member benefits against the organiztions renewal rates. We will certainly publish that in the report and I may also do a blog post on the topic. Tony

Tony Rossell said...

Hi Wayne -- You make a good point. Rightly or wrongly, I made the assumption that most of the survey participants would include some type of electronic or print periodical in their membership. However, I did not think that enough of them would be able to define what proportion of their members actually read the periodical or how much they read, so I did not see a way to include it in the engagement question. On the other hand, most groups do know how many attendees they have at their conference and what proportion of their members attend. So I felt more confident in getting reliable data back with that as an option. But your point is valid. The number one tangible reason to join many of these groups would be to receive a journal or magazine. Tony