Associations and Societies have clear objectives: build volunteer armies and thrive financially in order to support their missions. They can only be successful when their Associations and Societies are seen as opportunities for companies and executives to achieve business, and professional outcomes. With clear objectives, organizations require a path forward, helping them build durable armies and achieving solid financial performance.
CEOs understand a culture change is necessary to construct a Member Engagement Community. Management Visionary Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, Leader to Leader Institute notes (The Key to Cultural Transformation, Leader to Leader, 1999)” Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.”
Shaping a Member Engagement Community requires Associations and Societies to: Ask the tough questions, construct an effective data set, and leverage a robust top to bottom process involving staff, and members. Combined, these elements unite stakeholders under one banner and launch their journey to transformation.
3 Steps to a Member Engagement Community
With building a volunteer army and financial durability as outcomes, Associations and Societies can utilize three steps to shape their cultures and build Member Engagement Communities:
1. Ask the Tough Questions
In terms of members, will they
- Perceive an ability to impact outcomes?
- Have interests and concerns that are understood and tracked?
- See a culture of we/they?
- Be engaged in activities that have positive impact on company or personal priorities?
- View the Association/Society as connected to their personal or business objectives?
2. Construct a Data Set
- Conduct a competitive assessment with other Associations/Societies.
- Survey member needs, interests and concerns.
- Compare survey results and competitive assessment to retention and revenue performance.
3. Implement a Member Engagement Culture
- “We” focused community where members impact outcomes.
- Members participate “as one community” going in the same direction.
- Policies, programs and activities reflect the connection to business and professional objectives.
Choices and Competition
Members know they have choices to advance business and professional objectives. Lack of connectivity means companies and executives may vote with their feet and spend limited dollars somewhere else.
Member Engagement Community Wanted
Member engagement communities thrive. One Association doubled annual conference attendance and revenues motivating member engagement. In another example, an issue advocacy Association increased member fly in participation from two different part of the U.S.
These Associations also grew revenues and increased member participation because of their transformation to a higher level of member engagement.
Large change is difficult, however the failure to deliver change hampers member engagement. If Trade Associations and Societies want to build volunteer armies and thrive financially, members must have the ability to impact outcomes and have capacity to advance company or personal priorities. Associations and Societies who make the transformational changes, will increase member satisfaction, build volunteer armies and deliver revenue growth.