Engaging members, donors, and customers in your organization and building a thriving community ensures strong relationships that go the distance. The more engaged and involved your members are, the higher your retention rate is likely to be. While this is the lifeblood of associations and  nonprofits, it is also true of many businesses.

Building a thriving, engaged community can be key to any organization’s success. Engaged, caring customers are more likely to be loyal to your organization – highly satisfied customers have less reason to look elsewhere. Price differentials (unless they are drastic) are less likely to matter if your customers or clients feel connected and valued, get the results and quality they expect, and have a superlative customer experience with your company.

Ladder going up an arrowAssociation experts often use a pyramid or ladder as a useful representation of levels of engagement, from the most common activities at the bottom (e.g. reading your newsletter, liking your Facebook page) to moderate level (buying a publication, attending your conference or a webinar) to  the highest value involvement at the top (Board member, corporate sponsor, or member champion who recruits many new members). It is critical to thoughtfully draw a ladder or pyramid of engagement that is unique to your organization.

Member engagement can take so many different forms. What does engagement look like for your organization, from the most casual to most intense levels?

What are your goals for engagement and what do the different levels really mean to you – from generating revenue to relationships to service to the organization? What does it mean for your customer or member – what value are they getting, what needs are being fulfilled?

Take into account that there are always members who are happy to belong for the sake of belonging and aren’t likely to become much more engaged because they are very busy or that level serves their needs.

Moving People Up the Rungs of Engagement

Look at how you can move people from one level of engagement to the next one. Only so many people will become Board members but there are so many ways people can give and get value from your organization.

How can you create the paths for people to become more involved? What are the best strategies and tools for improving your constituents’ level of engagement? Are you maximizing the right social networking tools to build and enrich your community and relationships?

The Recipe for Success

With constantly changing dynamics, technology and needs, it is critical to continuously seek feedback, test different approaches, and recognize that what worked in the past may not be the best mix in the future. Combining member/customer engagement, a strong community, and your unique value proposition is a strong formula for success.  As I discussed last week, look at what the competition is doing and make sure you stay focused on what your unique, compelling mission, products, and services are that fit your most important audience’s needs and wants.

What is working for your organization?


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