How to Collect and Leverage Data to Increase Member Engagement

Jannan Poppen

August 19, 2022

Our member data is a powerful tool to increase member engagement. Determining how and in what ways your members engage allows you to identify successes and address gaps in your engagement strategy. By doubling down on effective engagement strategies for your association, you can maximize your engagement efforts and increase engagement where it counts.

Understanding the level of connection your members feel toward your association is essential for a thriving association membership. But, measuring engagement isn’t as simple as asking members to put their names on a sign-in sheet at in-person events. To see the complete picture of engagement, you’ll want to collect data on every member’s touchpoint with your association.
 

Why Engagement Matters

Engagement is your ticket to building a loyal member base that will value your association and retain their membership and costs less than attracting new members. A highly engaged membership means they participate, contribute, and recruit new members through referrals to the association. If engagement is low, members will likely not meaningfully contribute to the association, ignore emails and are less likely to renew their membership. 

 

How to Collect Data

Technology is your best friend when it comes to collecting data. Technology allows you to measure and track every member interaction and examine trends not only across the association, but on an individual basis as well. Your technology suite may consist of Association Management System (AMS) and a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) as well as a Benefits Management Software (BMS), such as Core Affinity’s Perks Marketplace. That may be a lot of acronyms, but it’s important to understand what technology you need, what you currently use, and how to use it.

Your AMS likely contains information about individual members, such as committees they have joined and how long they have been a member. Your CRM will have details about interactions with members and potential leads on new members. Your BMS should track data regarding your affinity programs, such as which benefits your members use, benefit rating and member feedback, and how and when your benefits are used. 

Your website, email management system, social media platforms, and event management system can also track data depending on the size and complexity of your association.

What Data to Collect

The short answer here is, “As much as you can!” But, in reality, you should collect the data you know you need to make the best decisions for your specific association. Data needed for tracking and improving engagement may look something like the following:

  • Percentage of members renewing membership
  • Percentage of members participating in events
  • Email open rates and click through rates

Regardless of the data you collect, you want to ensure it’s comprehensive and accurate. Remember that although technology is the tool you use to collect and measure data, the heart of your association is the members. Personalization helps make members feel valued and important. Use technology to track and automate processes, but don’t let it substitute for personal connections.

How to Use It

Your starting point begins once you identify the most important data to collect for your association. Ultimately, you need to set engagement goals based on your initial data and make adjustments to achieve your goals. The key is to make one adjustment at a time so you know what action is affecting the outcome and keep tracking the results

Goals and plans change as your association inevitably evolves. As your goals change, the data you need may change as well. Don’t be afraid to continually adjust and readjust to see the growth and engagement you are looking for.