Member engagement is one of the most commonly used phrases in our industry and appears in almost every organisation’s business plan. It is often used as a synonym for “the business of membership” but this broad definition is not especially helpful for informing our strategies.

What is Member Engagement?

In its most basic sense, engagement is a measure of how much the member and the organisation mean to one another. It examines how each has invested in that relationship and tracks the ways that this manifests into everyday activities. While this might sound relatively ambiguous, the reasons that it matters are not.

Most commercial organisations will tell us that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one. There is little reason to assume this situation radically differs for professional bodies and engagement is the mechanism by which we create loyal and satisfied members.

The first step to achieving this is ensuring that the services we provide are those that our members truly need and value. This is only possible if the value proposition is based upon an accurate understanding of our members’ lives, businesses and real-world challenges, and we can use two types of data to acquire this.