As MCI's Senior Advisor, Global Development Strategy, I help associations build and execute global growth strategies. Over the past 30 years I have served three associations (ASAE, MPI and IEEE Computer Society) as a leader of business, product and partnership development.
In this recorded podcast from December 7th, Renata Lerch, Deputy Managing Director of the American Society for Quality and Elisa Pratt, Chief Global Member Engagement Officer of ASIS International, offered their insights on their own benchmark data from the Global Engagement Index (GEI 2016) and how it is impacting current thinking on strategy and operational planning in their associations.
What is GEI?
The GEI 2016 was a first of its kind global index developed from a recent survey of 15 global associations [PDF]. Respondents were 8500+ members and customers from all over the world. GEI found that non US member and customer relationships with their associations collectively was average at best. Although the Global Engagement Index focused on international members, its conclusion that an association’s relationship strength, not membership status, is often the biggest factor for increased engagement rings true for domestic organizations as well.
The report measured engagement scores for 15 associations from a pool of 122,000 members and customers in markets around the world. Next year, MCI will commission a similar Index to study association relationships with U.S.-based members and customers.
The Index showed that people in global markets, particularly those in emerging and developing markets, are hungry for practical information. The data shows that those with the strongest relationship and recall of an association were most often nonmember customers, followed by members who have experience using a product or service in the last 18 months.
The study found that people who join an association but do not purchase products are significantly more likely to drop their membership, whereas customers who buy at least one product have a stronger relationship. They are more likely to become members and more likely to renew.
In other words, some of your strongest relationships may not be with your members; instead they may be with customers attending an event or seeking an accreditation.
The whole notion of a membership-first strategy could be dangerous, because members who are only interested in becoming a member often times have weaker engagement and relationship scores.
Power of Relationships
GEI introduced five member/customer segments based on relationship strength. The most desirous segment was labeled “multipliers,” because this segment is not only loyal and highly likely to renew membership or purchase products but also they are highly motivated to support the mission of the association. If you knew who these people were, you could begin to accelerate the growth of your organization.
Organizations experiencing global growth tend to think about membership engagement as a one-on-one relationship. Put the right opportunity in front of the right individual. Be relevant in-terms of your product perspective, as well as your marketing and communications.
It’s also important to think of engagement as a spectrum or scale. A passive member can grow into an active member, and a loyal member can become a multiplier who connects you to new members or new opportunities.
Join Renata Lerch, Deputy Managing Director of the American Society for Quality and Elisa Pratt, Chief Global Member Engagement Officer of ASIS International, for a discussion on the results of the GEI and insights gained by their associations from analysis of their own member and customer data against the global benchmark. This free 45 minute webinar will take place on December 7th from 100pm-145pm Eastern.
ASQ and ASIS were joined by 13 other major associations for the GEI 2016 including: American Concrete Institute, American Institute of CPAs, APICS, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Facility Management Association, International Society of Automation, Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Material Research Society, NACE International, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
GEI was design to help associations understand:
How strong is the relationship with members and customers outside of the US?
What is impacting for good or bad the quality of these relationships?
What resources deliver the most value and impact engagement the most?
How relevant is the value proposition to the needs of local members and customers?
What levels of engagement are there and how do members and customers fit into this model?
Thanks to GEI, for the first time association executives are able to better understand how relationship strength impacts the ability to improve engagement with members and customers through empirical data.
For questions on the webinar or GEI2016 (such as to receive a copy of the free report), please contact Peter Turner at 571.275.1516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On October 4th, David LaFrance CEO from the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Gaurav Sood from AWWA India shared their insights gained from the first year developing community in India.
AWWA developed a Strategic Framework with the objective of expanding into seven priority markets with a mission statement “Better World Through Better Water” and opened its first office outside of North America, in Mumbai India in 2015. This session aims to share insights into both the opportunities and challenges faced by a US association in penetrating the India market and lessons learned.
In this 30 minute webinar, you’ll understand:
AWWA’s overview and strategy for entering India
Getting traction in the Indian market – initial steps and financing the effort
Establishing the infrastructure – working with local volunteer leaders and governance
Being locally relevant – gathering market insights, establishing the brand, and building network
Daily operations – planning the action and acting the plan
MCI thanks David LaFrance for contributing his time and insight.