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How to Reliably Increase Member Engagement Year-over-year [Checklist]

By Dan Stevens


How do we increase member engagement for our association?” “How do we help our members keep up with workforce development?” “How do we reach the next generation of members?”


In today’s rapidly evolving workforce, where a baby boomer retires every minute and a digital native – someone who grew up under the influence of the internet – is needed to take their place, association leaders across virtually every industry and profession are asking these crucial questions.


And the need for answers is only growing.

How to engage association members in 2024


The cemented popularity of content platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn and even Netflix have completely redefined your audience’s expectations. Now they’re used to:


●      Daily, accessible, high-value content in the medium of their choice.

●      A frictionless experience letting them jump from one piece of related content to the next.

●      Sharing and promoting the content and organizations that meet their needs – and shunning those that don’t.


Plus, they’re used to getting all this for free.


Relying on quarterly magazines or annual events for your revenue, recruitment and member engagement will not yield you the same return as it once did. If you are an association leader, you already know this and you’re looking to get ahead of it.


Or maybe you’re already feeling the squeeze. I hope not but given the robust social and digital competition for the hearts and minds of your members - probably!


What is your association’s member value?


The point is, today, member engagement, workforce development, and reaching the next generation all come down to your digital member value. 


So how do you package it, serve it, and make it sustainable so you’re not just increasing engagement with these digital natives this year, but for the next decade?


To answer that, we analyzed what platforms like LinkedIn and YouTube are doing right and put that up against what the most successful associations are doing to maximize their member value and master digital engagement. From there, we put together a checklist to help you grade your own association’s efforts and see where you’re succeeding, and where you may want to revisit your strategy.


Association Member Value Strategy Checklist


Review the following statements and check whether you’ve mastered, are improving, or have no plan for each item.

So how did you score, and what do you do with this information?


If you are not checking mostly mastered, then you need to work on getting the right balance between:


●      Your digital content: Formats, lengths, topics and frequency – are your members getting what they need to grow personally and professionally?

●      Your digital engagement: Making it easy to find, consume and act on content regardless of the medium – are you creating and measuring your member journeys?

●      Your digital non-dues revenue: Generating non-dues revenue on your content and engagement – Are you reducing your association’s risk, diversifying your revenue and reinvesting to grow your member value long-term?


It’s up to you as a leader to decide what level of achievement is acceptable for your organization. If you scored lower than you’d like, don’t worry! You now have some concrete items you could work on to increase your digital member engagement, and member value.

What will increase your member engagement: In-house vs. outsourcing?


The associations with a perfect score are the best in the world at what they do. Their expertise in their niche, combined with impeccable packaging, distribution and optimization practices above, is what’s keeping their members engaged from year one, to year ten and beyond. They have mastered digital member value and made it easy for members to find, consume and act on their content. 


Yes, it takes some effort, cross-department coordination, and change.


But if you want something you don’t have, you’ll have to do something you haven’t done – and you don’t have to do it alone! Creating content, getting it all published on a single platform, and monetizing it are best-in-class processes – and you can outsource as much or as little as is appropriate for your association’s size, structure and skills.


But I’ll warn you now, once you see how little effort it takes to get such a mighty return from these best practices, you won’t want to stop.

About the author


Dan Stevens is the founder of WorkerBee.TV, the leading North American digital agency empowering associations for growth.


Dan’s passion for empowering member organizations was first sparked when he discovered the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global association of over 18,000 entrepreneurs. Dan became enamored with the community, direction, and personal and professional growth that associations offer their members and dove in headfirst, launching his local chapter of EO in 1992, before serving on the international board in various positions – including Global President.


When he’s not helping associations unlock their potential, you can find Dan spending time with his wonderful wife, three daughters, and traveling the world learning from history and culture.



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