What I Wish I Knew on Engagement

Or what I colloquially called the “keep the members happy” section of the lifecycle! Thinking back, I wish that I would have leaned hard on surveys about our programs, and I would have made all that data public with an Amazon-esque rating system.

Between national and the state and local chapters, a large professional society that I worked for had more programs going on than we could shake a stick at. A lot of them were great, but a lot of them were… less than great. Sometimes we were able to get honest feedback, but more often than not, we’d get rosy reports. I had one CEO who would have described a public flogging as “the best meeting we’ve ever had,” or worse yet, said nothing.

What I wish I had had done, was leverage a survey tool to collect attendee feedback on EVERYTHING, and I would have leaned hard into incentive programs for survey respondents. Then I would have used all that data, not only to inform our own programing decisions, but to put a star ranking system on every program and made those results public. Seriously! Would you consider buying anything online that you couldn’t review some ratings on?

Now, let’s think about how members and prospects might respond to having the chance to register for another session of something that 30 of their peers had given a 5-star rating to. Or what it says to the membership that as an organization, that you’re willing to admit that you laid an egg with a program. I would even make a series of dashboards to present those results graphically, so that members could see improvement trends and show that we’re paying attention.

 A few hundred dollars’ worth of gift cards and Association swag is nothing compared to value of the data and the message that pushing those results sends to your members, your prospects, the Board, or even past members you’re trying to win back.

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