By Guest Blogger:

Emma Thompson, Director

Ashridge Communications

 

Retention and renewal: it’s all about engagement, isn’t it?  There have been plenty of studies – by membership bodies tracking their data, and by sector suppliers evidencing the requirement for their products – to show that the more engaged members are, the more likely they are to stick with their membership.

It certainly seems to hold true.  And thus, membership bodies invest time and money in understanding their members better, devising engagement programmes and offering personalised services to increase engagement.

But have you considered that some members don’t want to be more engaged?  Receiving a printed journal, access to ad-hoc advice, or simply the kudos of having achieved membership are enough for some.  And no amount of cajoling – targeted or otherwise – will encourage these members to engage any more than they already do.

If you measured the engagement of one of these members – using whatever system of scoring or monitoring you have in place – the outcome may not be very positive.  Particularly if compared to an individual who is a committee member, attends events, has a place on the mentoring scheme, logs-in to the members area regularly, follows your Twitter account, recommends membership to others, writes for the blog… and is generally an all-round, membership good egg.

Unless – of course – satisfaction is one of your measures.  Because, while the seemingly unengaged may not be using the vast majority of fabulous benefits and services you make available to them, they may be very excited to hear the thud of the journal on their doormat once a month, and be one hundred percent satisfied with their membership as a result.

The key is motivation.  If you can understand why someone is a member in the first place, you’ll have a better idea of how they want to be engaged.  Then you can make sure you continue doing the right things, to keep them engaged in the ways they want to be engaged.

Understanding motivation also contributes to a deeper understanding of how individuals value their membership, which will help organisations create value propositions that resonate with current and potential members.

Motivations for membership change over time, so check regularly to ensure you stay ahead of the game.

Ashridge Communications offers expert research services & trusted consultancy to the membership sector, bringing fresh thinking to help your membership body thrive – with insight, ideas & strategic solutions delivered by membership specialists, aligned to your goals.

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