The Simple Truth About Member Engagement

“Engagement" is one of those industry buzzwords that everyone uses. We all assume there’s a shared understanding of “Engagement". After all, how many times have you been in a meeting where someone says “We need to increase engagement" - and everybody nods their head in agreement? But what, exactly, IS engagement, how do you measure it, and how do you increase it?

Many club and association managers will say that engagement is any activity that brings members to the club. CFO’s and Controllers will likely say that engagement is anything that generates revenue. So when we try to increase engagement, are we trying to get more people through the clubhouse doors, or are we trying to get more money in the coffers? Actually, neither. These are both byproducts of engagement, but they are not the actual engagement.

Simply put, engagement is anything that creates an emotional connection between the members and the club. In order to create true engagement, you must build upon The Three Pillars of Member Engagement (that’s our next blog post). The goal of engagement is to create “sticky members" - not to make more money. Sticky members are those who want to spend time at the club, they want to bring their friends, and they will likely remain active members for a long time. Sticky members will lead to more time in the clubhouse and more revenue in general. That is the happy byproduct of successful engagement.

In the first paragraph above, I asked three questions:

  1. What is engagement?

  2. How do you measure engagement?

  3. How do you increase engagement?

We’ve answered number 1, and number 3 will be answered in our next blog post. That leaves us with how to measure engagement.

This is actually the most difficult of the three questions because, currently, there is no good way to measure engagement. Today, you can measure the byproducts of engagement, but there’s no way to necessarily tie them back to show they were produced from engagement. For instance, if your club had higher revenue last month over the same month last year, is that because of increased member engagement, or because the weather was better?

Luckily, the team at GroupValet is hard at work to solve this problem. We’re working on a set of algorithms that will cross-reference member activities against their interests in order to produce the first Member Engagement Score based on the Three Pillars of Member Engagement. This will provide organizations with a way to measure the results of their engagement efforts and to determine which members are the “stickiest".

Look for this Member Engagement Score in early 2017.