Getting to know your members and having the chance to engage them at every possible moment is something your association simply cannot pass up.
But some methods of engagement really hit home more than others. According to Abila’s Member Engagement Study, only 44% of organizations believe they are engaging members the right amount, while the remaining percent either believe they are overbearing members with engagement, or are unsure of how their engagement efforts go.
And if you’re an association who has its doubts on its own member engagement- it might be time to get to the bottom of your efforts and create more quality time with your members.
When it comes to meeting up with your members in person, there’s no other form of engagement that compares. Making that in-person connection and getting to know members through real conversation can allow your association with all the information it needs to make members happy- and not to mention a chance to leave a lasting impression on members new and old.
But getting your members together can be quite the struggle.
So, if your association is looking for ways to get members out from behind the computer screen and face-to-face with your team, you’ll love the list we’ve put together. Check out these 3 unique ideas that can help you score more quality time with your membership.
Need a way to get members to interact with your association? Offer them a prime spot at your best volunteer events.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans gave 8 billion hours of volunteer service. More than that, the average value of volunteer time in 2016 was $24.24 per hour. It seems that individuals are looking to help out organizations they care about- and engagement isn’t the only perk of having them on board with your association.
Organizing regularly scheduled volunteer events can give your members a lot of room to breathe and choose what they’d prefer to participate in with your association. After all, you want this to be a pleasant and positive experience for your members- rather than assigning them a volunteer position at their request, allow them to put thought into a position they’d like and attend at their leisure.
There are always volunteer opportunities and events your association can look into providing. You can open up your events for volunteers to lend a helping hand any way you’d like (think about the hassle of event set up or the advantage of having volunteers to help attendees navigate the event space). You can also work with your surrounding community and organize projects that help benefit local businesses and organizations. If local members see you host a volunteer event that they can also benefit from, they may be more inclined to sign up.
Once you’ve met with your team and decided on some volunteer opportunities you’d like to offer, create a schedule that you can share with your members.
By giving out a calendar of volunteer events, you give them the chance to view all of your events, figure out one that fits into their schedule, and attend at their own pace. Having members come to you will only increase your chance at engaging them organically rather than pushing them away with overbearing efforts.
If you’re a larger association with multiple chapters across the state/country, you may find engaging members in person much more challenging. This is why putting in the time to make chapter visits can help you easily manage member engagement with less frustration.
Communicating with your association’s many different chapters through online tools like email and chat rooms can only get you so far. While these methods of communication are extremely useful for keeping in touch, they don’t offer the same amount of personal engagement that making the trip to each chapter does. This is why it’s essential to schedule trips and gather your resources in order to meet up with various chapters in person.
By conducting chapter visits, you allow your association’s board of executives to see exactly what goes on across each chapter. You’ll be able to see first-hand how a chapter functions, what problems that chapter’s members face, and what you can do to create a better environment for everyone involved.
You also have the opportunity to present yourself to chapter members who may not have had the chance to come to annual meetings or events where you are present. By making the trip to them, you can engage with members without them having to spend money and take time to travel your way.
You can make chapter visits an event for your association, or even just have team members stop by to each chapter when travelling for other work. There are many different methods and levels to chapter visits, so you should never feel like there needs to be an elaborate plan involved. Even a quick coffee shop chat can increase your engagement chapter-wide.
Competitions and Awards
Want a fun way to engage members while also getting them together to interact with your association/one another? Consider coming up with competitions and awards members can participate in.
This is a great tactic not only to get members at in-person events, but to increase the chance of them engaging with your association. You can create a challenge to get members to interact with your association- liking and sharing social media posts, downloading content, attending your events and conferences. Encouraging and incentivizing engagement will get the ball rolling with members.
Then, once you have a wide spread competition between members, you can reward those who excel with a reward of some sort. Think about something your members will want to win- perhaps a discount on their membership or a free seminar/event pass.
Or, you can hold award nights for members who go above and beyond the daily activities you expect from them.
Awards are a fun way to incorporate more face-to-face time with your members. Put together a nice dinner event or rent out a venue hall and cordially invite your members by nominating them for awards. You can base your awards off of volunteer hours, event attendance, new members referred, or anything else your association finds recognizable.