When I first started in the association world back in 1994, the top priority for most associations was “How do we increase the engagement of our members?” And today, 28 years later, the operational goal for many associations is still the same: increasing member engagement. Download your copy of the 2022 Membership Performance Benchmark Report for top operational goals and key challenges facing associations.
The need has not changed. The technology for achieving it has.
To increase member engagement, an association needs a set of modern technology tools designed to engage members at every step of their journey. It’s important to be able to score engagement by tracking leadership involvement, event attendance, products purchased, volunteer hours earned, online community participation and other meaningful activities for your members.
The Power of an EMS
A modern Engagement Management System (EMS) is purpose-built for associations and other member-centric organizations to provide a complete view of each member’s profile, so tracking these types of interactions and engagements across all areas and departments is automated and standard, giving you the ability to make data-driven decisions to grow your association. See our recent blog article on the importance of becoming a data-driven association.
An EMS elevates your association’s engagement potential because it is uniquely built to directly connect your association to your members, and those members back to you. With native CRM, AMS, CMS, and accounting functionality, an EMS smooths layers of complexity and provides greater flexibility and data visibility becoming your single source of truth repository for all engagement points for your entire community.
1) Delight members with personalized web experiences
An EMS enables you to personalize interactions in delivering an optimal digital customer experience across the web, mobile and email. When a single system engages everyone, you can coordinate across channels to create one consistent member experience through your website, publications, and communications, each optimized for each phase in the member journey. Anticipating needs and wants truly delights your members and supports, as well as nonmembers, who encounter your association. You’ll be able to analyze your members’ engagement with you, so you can create effective member personas for segmentation and targeting.
2) Automate your members' journey
Not only do your members expect personalized communications and web experiences, but they also expect an automated experience. Engage your constituents with personalized and integrated marketing campaigns, complete with automated email reminders about their unique deadlines or upcoming scheduled payments. An EMS also automates and personalizes fundraising activities, including pledge reminders, gift acknowledgments, and donation receipts. These tools provide your team with all they need to turn information into action and that action increases engagement.
3) Build your platform how you want to align to your business goals
We have learned over the past 30 years that the healthiest technology implementations are those where the Executive team is engaged with the technology decision-making. We aren’t saying that IT professionals aren’t the right people to make decisions about your association’s technology platform, but your risk is increased when the Executive team is not involved. “Why?” A corporate strategy needs to be included in the purchase and the configuration of the technology system. A modern EMS is easily configurable to natively meet most core business needs with the flexibility to extend and scale with complementary, best-of-breed association apps through a robust API.
4) Learn from every member interaction with a single source of truth
An EMS provides the unique opportunity to become an organization’s single source of truth by eliminating fragmented technology platforms. A critical step in digital transformation is ensuring a single source of truth. This enables an organization to become and remain a learning organization, one where you are constantly learning about your members’ actions, activities and participation, and using what you have learned to chart an effective course forward for your members as well as your organization as a whole.
Many elements must be aligned for this to happen — membership systems, websites, and mobile devices as well as the organization’s top business goals and strategy. Ongoing continuous performance improvement is realized through a thorough, long-term journey of fine-tuning to ensure your Engagement Management System maximizes your organizational learning about your members.
Drives Value for Your Association
A modern EMS concentrates all data into a single view by collapsing the distance between the association’s business system and dynamic websites. It supports all the areas that your association needs through one system. An EMS engages everyone through the web (via member portals, event microsites and the public site), provides self-service opportunities for members, supports complex commerce options, and provides deep accurate reporting and analysis to staff.
To achieve digital transformation in the current business environment, you need modern software that is purpose-built for the specific needs of associations. An Engagement Management System (EMS) elevates engagement by:
Turning member interactions into a web experience
Providing instant recognition of the member
Instantly responding to member activity
The combination of these capabilities drive value to the member, which promotes retention and sustains association growth.