When we talk about organizations, the term employee engagement refers to the concept of keeping the employees interested at their workplace and in their work. To achieve employee engagement, you might use gamification techniques, enhance the training process, organize fun events etc.
But when it comes to engaging members of a society or non-profit association, it means retaining them by making them believe in your cause. A non-profit organization is formed by people who volunteer to be a part of it, so if the members of society leave, the association cannot function smoothly. So, it is crucial to maintain engagement among members of a non-profit association.
But how? The age-old process of using flyers and brochures is not as effective now as they were before. It’s about time that we use technology to improve the operations of a non-profit association. In fact, incorporating digital solutions can be of great help to keep the members of a society engaged. Technology can be leveraged in multiple ways to smoothen the running of a non-profit society.
In this blog, we will tell you how you can increase member engagement in the digital era.
1. Automate All Processes Involving Paperwork
There’s probably a lot of paperwork involved in operating a non-profit society. Forms for joining, for renewing membership, for signing up for a new program. Sometimes members might not renew membership or sign up for a program only to avoid the hassles of paperwork. So, the best thing to do is to go digital and introduce auto-renewal forms and an online platform for applications for volunteer programs and other events.
Today, we all look for ways that can make our lives easier and save our time. By automating the process, you can lead the members to the association’s website, where you can post other engaging content to capture the member’s interest. Moreover, going digital saves a considerable amount of time and money on printing forms and flyers, and is more environment friendly. It’s also easier to track and maintain a record of all activities online than offline.
2. Create Diverse Content
Not every member of your association might be of the same age group. While a lot of them might be people belonging to an older generation, there might also be newer people interested in joining your cause. Hence, the content you create to engage your audience must be designed to resonate with a diverse age group.
Try not to send a generic email to the entire list of members. Create separate groups that are filtered according to age, common interest, date of joining etc. This will help you send out tailored content. For example, if you are seeking volunteers for a specific task, you can filter by age and send out the event details to relevant members. Similarly, if you want to send an alert for membership renewal, you can send an email to only those people whose membership will soon expire. You can thus avoid spamming your members’ inbox with irrelevant mails, which they are bound to ignore.
3. Maintain an Active Discussion Forum and Blog
You cannot have only one medium of communication in this digital age. Your newsletters are more of an overview of the work done in a quarter or in a year. But you need more interaction to keep the members of society engaged. Start an online forum where members can actively participate and discuss ideas and issues.
Have a weekly blog around topics relevant to the cause of your association. An informative blog around trending topics is sure to receive more views and generate interest among the members of society. The blogs could either be lighthearted or business-like, depending upon your audience’s interests.
4. Leverage Social Media
As mentioned earlier, you cannot afford to use only a single medium of communication to reach out to your members. Social media is a free and useful tool with high engagement rate that you can use to connect with members of the association. Use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc., to connect with other like-minded people as well as the existing members.
You can create relevant posts for each platform with the aim to be seen on the member’s feed. This will keep them posted on the latest updates and will generate interest about the various actions undertaken by the association. You can post pictures of events and activities. This will help you to not only engage with your current members but also attract new members on social media sites.
5. Use Real Images and Videos Instead of Stock Photography
There are millions of stock photographs available online. But to stay true to your cause and generate genuine interest among members of society, it is advisable to use authentic pictures and videos of events, activities, meetings etc. that have been conducted by the association.
These photographs and videos can be used on social media platforms or embedded in email campaigns. It gives out a message to the dormant members that you have been doing interesting work and will compel them to become an active member of the association once again.
6. Notify Them of New Updates
Another way to keep members engaged is by notifying them of latest updates online. You can make use of drip campaigns where you keep them posted of the latest happenings on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. It is important to remind the members about the activities taking place.
You can’t afford to lose your members, because they are the backbone of your society. If you fail to engage them, you have to put in twice the effort to recruit new members. So, keep the existing members of society engaged with constant communication.
7. Get an App!
People these days spend a lot of time on mobile apps. They are convenient, easy to use, and are always accessible. So, consider building an app, branded with your logo and design to deliver all important content related to the association.
The app could contain application forms, donation forms and payment portals, event sign-up forms, blogs, discussion forums, annual reports, everything! Get a cloud-based application which the admin can monitor and can modify the content whenever needed.
8. Use Analytics and Optimize Content
Almost every non-profit association has a monthly or an annual newsletter rolled out. But are the members even going through them? There’s no way for you to know. This is where analytics comes into play. Analytics is a simple yet important tool to measure the effectiveness of any online content. You can track the engagement level of your members and optimize the posts as needed. If you find that members are engaging with a particular post on Facebook, build up on it by commenting and sharing the post on other social platforms as well.
With analytics, you can track members’ previous activities, and their engagement with the current posts and emails. Analytics can be embedded in a mobile application as well, so that you have the exact count of members who have engaged with your content. Once you get a fair idea of what connects with the audience, you can then design your future promotional posts and emails accordingly.
Membership organizations such as associations, non-profits, clubs etc., are under increasing pressure to retain members. Retention comes with engagement. Maintain frequent communication with the members and try to keep it a two-way communication. This can be accomplished through social media, online forums, and blogs. Email marketing is a great way to keep them updated. While using all these online mediums, remember to provide them opportunities to share and interact with the content. By adopting a streamlined approach, associations can manage to engage and retain the members of society and get them actively involved in your cause.
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