Engagement. It is a primary goal of any association. Everyone wants members to feel involved and up to date on everything the association offers, but how exactly does one break down the components of what it means to have engaged members? Association Library did a white paper called “Implications of Economic, Market, and Societal Change on Association Engagement” in March of 2014 that breaks down the components of engagement in an easy to understand way: The four “I”s
- Involvement: This includes gaining the initial action from members as well as generating follow up actions. In many cases this can be as simple as a person taking the time to read an email or brochure. It can also evolve from that to members searching for more information or heading to events and conferences. This can be looked at as getting an association’s foot in the door in regards to a potential member.
- Interaction: The next step after involvement is interaction. By being involved, a person is receiving information willingly from the association, but by interacting, a person is choosing to respond back to the initial involvement. For example, after learning about an association for a while, one may decide to purchase a membership to the association. This is them agreeing to a mutual relationship with the association. Some may think this is the last step. You got the member, right? Wrong! Quality, engaged members do not come from simply paying a membership fee.
- Intimacy: This portion of engagement is especially important because it forms an emotional tie between a member and an association. When connections are stronger between the two, the member will start to feel a sense of pride from being a part of the association as well as feel like they are contributing to better the association in some way. These will be the opinion leaders of the association and they can be vital for keeping everything running smoothly.
- Influence: The highest level of engagement an association member can have is influence. Once all three of the other steps are completed, a person will have the ability to create positive feelings towards the association. It is important that this person completely understands the mission, goals, and initiatives of the association.