Is Association Member Engagement About Selling Stuff?

President & CEO


Is Association Member Engagement About Selling Stuff? Imagine the discussion that took place when an association’s founders first convened. Did they say: “Let’s go hire some staff and ask them to sell us stuff.” Likely not at all. Why? Intuitively, founders understood that people seek out others who have a common interest, and become most engaged with those who express appreciation for their contributions. Ultimately, Association founders recognized they could achieve more powerful outcomes collectively than individually.

Defining Strategic Member Engagement

selling stuffIn the eBook ( ), Strategic Member Engagement is defined as “Creating unparalleled and sustainable value by bringing people together in ways that they find meaningful and practical, because they perceive an ability to impact something they desire, individually and collectively.”


Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, Executive Director, AMDA,,The Society for Post Acute and Long Term Care Medicine applies principles of Strategic Member Engagement to keep his organization focused on the mission and future positioning. Leveraging a strategic board and focusing on the needs of the average member, Laxton encourages his Board to keep their eyes focused on the mission:

Is Association Member Engagement About Selling Stuff?

At the majority of associations, member engagement takes a back seat to fighting fires and meeting budget expectations. Few association executives describe it as a “differentiating strategy”, a “growth accelerator”, or “game changer”.

There are early indicators including AMDA, and NIRI (National Investor Relations Institute), ( of new ways to think about member engagement. Executives Like Laxton, and NIRI President and CEO Jeff Morgan are demonstrating the direct linkages between their efforts, member outcomes, and their association’s business model.

The free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives upon request at,, and