Membership

Daily Buzz: Find the Dollar Value of Engagement

By / May 10, 2019 (barisonal/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Member engagement can be broad, and calculating its success can be—well, complicated. Here’s a formula that can pinpoint return on engagement. Also: An interesting way to make your main speaker feel extra special.

As an association professional, you know member engagement matters. But what does engagement actually mean—and how do you measure it?

Maneesha Manges writes on the HighRoad Solution blog that engagement is usually defined as the connection a member feels to an organization and is usually gauged through website visits, attendance at events, interaction with educational resources, and so on.

“But still, these figures only give us a rough guide to what’s going on in our association,” Manges says. “Crucially, it doesn’t tell us if we’re spending money in the right places or if we need to invest our resources elsewhere.”

One metric that can give insight into dollar value of engagement: return on engagement (ROE). Although it can be tricky to measure accurately, Manges says that finding ROE comes down to three steps:

1. Pinpoint all income related to engagement. That includes membership dues, event fees, and voluntary contributions.

2. Identify all costs related to engagement. What does it cost to produce programming or events, including staff and marketing efforts?

3. Calculate ROE. Once you have both numbers, subtract the cost from income and multiply by 100. What you’ll end up with is your ROE percentage.

“Member engagement is always going to be a little vague because ultimately, it’s about emotion,” Manges says. “To truly understand engagement, you will need qualitative feedback like surveys and member interviews. However, looking at quantitative financial data will give you a great overview of whether you’re getting things right or whether you need to rethink your strategy.”

Personalization to the Max

Want to make a speaker feel extra special? Try plastering his or her face on everything. No, really.

At this year’s OMR Festival, a digital marketing event in Europe, conference planners put images of speaker Taylor Lorenz’s face on coffee cups, pillows, and water bottles—and even put her name on a car—as part of its effort to put out the red carpet for The Atlantic writer, who focuses on social media culture. Now that’s personalization.

Other Links of Note

The first year of membership is a crucial factor in member retention. The MemberSuite blog explains why you need an onboarding plan.

Exploring impact investing? The Stanford Social Innovation Review outlines when it’s the right move—and when it might be a waste.

An effective digital workplace platform includes these nine features, according to CMSWire.

Sophia Conforti

Sophia Conforti is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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