Improving member engagement and retention remain the top goals of association executives in 2017. but they don’t find social media to help in either endeavor.
These are among the findings of the 2017 Global Benchmark Report on Member Performance, produced by Advanced Solutions International. The survey, in its third year, advises that membership organizations explore all strategies to boost retention and engagement, including increasing mobile/online options, replacing outdated member management systems, and updating their websites.
Most organizations did not change the frequency for redesigning their websites from the previous year — one-third again reported they hadn’t updated their sites in more than three years; more than five years for some.
The report suggests associations consider Responsive Web Design to provide consistent, real-time content and data to enhance the member experience and dramatically cut staff time. Adoption rates in the association space of RWD, which has been available for several years now, are increasing at a snail’s pace.
While Facebook and LinkedIn saw an upturn in usage in the 2017 survey, Twitter use declined from 84 percent in 2016 to 81 percent in 2017. Executives ranked social media as one of the least-effective channels for member retention and only marginally effective for new member acquisition.
The report finds overall that 65 percent of respondents say their retention rate was more than 75 percent. In 2016, 73 percent reported their retention rate was that high. Overall member engagement in the past year also declinedt; only 35 percent reported an increase in engagement vs. 41 percent in 2016. And the number of respondents without a formal engagement plan rose to 72 percent from 69 percent in 2016.
Of those respondents who indicated they have an engagement plan, 62 percent said it has increased membership renewals, 53 percent found it boosted attendance at events, and 20 percent reported higher nondues revenue.