From Flying Blind To Membership Engagement Based On Community, Connection, and Context

An association with 45,000+ members did not deliver the membership experience they desired. They need to engage with members to change it.

The traditional member survey wasn’t cutting it as a listening tool. The 60+ question engagement survey did not resonate with even the most committed members, and the low participation rate reflected that. They felt as if they were flying blind, with no guidance from their members.
As a result, the association invited Innovisor to redesign and tailor, how they engaged their members based on Innovisor’s extensive experience with networks, community, and ecosystem diagnostics.

The association had two clear objectives:

  1. to increase the association’s relevance to members by listening, changing, and adapting to their needs
  2. to increase the association’s reputation amongst members by leveraging their informal networks

This case study shows how the association increased its relevance and reputation by focusing future membership engagement on connections, context, and community.

Strong Connectivity In Complex Community

The association understood that understanding connections were an important springboard for success. The association was aware of Innovisor’s #SixChangeBlocker (as captured in this whitepaper). One of these change blockers is the fragmentation of the network. The more fragmented or loosely connected the network is, the less impact you will get from your investments in change.

The association expected this to be a strong change blocker as the nature of the network was based on a community with 45,000 members from 68+ different specialties working from many different locations spanning six time zones. Nonetheless, the connectivity inside the community network was strong with an amazing 79% of these members connected as one.

That was a very good starting point. The impact of interventions to improve relevance and reputation could be distributed faster than expected. The cohesiveness of the community was set up to create a ripple effect.

But where could the association find traction to move past the sustained change tipping point?
Who to work with to get tailwind so that there is no turning back on your change anymore?

How to Get Tailwind: Release Energy and Achieve Traction

On top of the insight about how members were connected, these connections included another treasure: members were coupled with specific professional traits. Professional traits which were linked to the association’s new priorities for the next three years.

The association now knew how members perceived the strategic priorities and whether they felt they had valuable expertise to contribute with. This enabled the association to work with people on the activities that mattered most to them – releasing unprecedented energy and achieving traction for its new strategic priorities.

One priority was to support members with their wellbeing. This Innovisor Community Diagnostic identified the members who could give the tailwind to strategic priorities on behalf of other members. There were 250+ members who were concerned with the wellbeing of their peers, and who had the expertise to strengthen wellbeing. They were nicknamed the ‘wellbeing champions’.

The wellbeing champions were further segmented with data from the Innovisor Community Diagnostic, and this revealed two extra groups:

  1. The Allies: Those ‘wellbeing champions’, who wanted to be engaged further also in other strategic priorities.
  2. The Voices of The Members: Those ‘wellbeing champions’, who had informal influence on the rest of the community.

Who Amongst Members to Engage In What?

The association now knew exactly who they needed to involve in what and when, and could initiate a targeted action plan with impactful interventions.
The 1st step was to work with the wellbeing champions – excluding those who were also allies and the voice of the members. These wellbeing champions were engaged in co-creating collateral around this topic. This way the communication and learning opportunities to share with the rest of the community – when the new priority was launched – was targeted and focused to the community’s need.

The 2nd step was to work with the allies among the wellbeing champions. They were asked to give feedback on what was created before it was shared with the rest of the community. The ownership of the wellbeing agenda for the community was now not only coming from the permanent staff of the association but also from the engaged community members.

The 3rd step was the voice of the members to share the collateral on wellbeing training opportunities. The community had identified these voices of the members as influential and having these people aligned to wellbeing brought weight to this priority.

Connection, Context, and Community is the Future for Membership Engagement

The new way of engaging members helped to increase the relevance and reputation of the association. The association could now harvest the benefits of an engaged community.

This case shows that the future of membership engagement is about:

  1. Fostering connection to build a collective identity.
  2. Embracing context to encourage a plurality of ways to meet the needs of the members.
  3. Releasing the power of communities in targeted activities.

Author: Richard Santos Lalleman

Case written by

Richard Santos Lalleman

Connect directly with Richard via one of his social platforms

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