Member engagement is crucial to the achievement of an organization's goals and can lead to higher member retention. However, member engagement itself is not readily defined. Generally, member engagement involves members investing time and other resources to make use of the benefits they receive by being members of the organization. What member engagement actually looks like depends on the organization in question.1,2 It also depends on the type of member; for example, newer members may be easily engaged through an email campaign introducing them to certain member benefits each week, while experienced members may feel more engaged when invited to share their knowledge through more active participation in the organization.3
Measuring member engagement can provide information that may be helpful in improving an organization's performance and identifying opportunities to provide value for members. Some tools assign points to certain activities that signal engagement in the organization.4 However, creating a tool to measure member engagement can be challenging, in part due to the lack of a standard definition for member engagement.1 Furthermore, engagement methods may not be accurate. Some activities that should be included in the measurement may be inadvertently excluded, and certain patterns of engagement may skew the data overall, making it more difficult to identify true trends. For example, some members may be very actively engaged through activities that correlate with low point values as assigned by the measurement tool while others may have participated in an activity several years ago that garnered many points but may not currently be engaged at all within the organization. The scores of these two different types of members may not differentiate between their particular patterns of engagement.4
The Membership Committee was tasked this year with defining member engagement within our association and developing a sustainable system to measure member engagement. We are currently working to refine our engagement scoring tool, which assigns points to activities that signal engagement in accordance to the level of engagement that each activity entails.4 The first step is to identify activities that signal engagement within our organization. Activities that we may be evaluating as part of our system of measuring member engagement include event attendance, education, email engagement, website logins, committee participation, donations, social media activity, participation in the Pharmacy Mentoring Network and speaking/authoring contributions over a period of 12 months.
The purpose behind measuring member engagement is to analyze how members are engaged in our association and find ways to further improve member engagement. Having at least 10-20 percent of members engaged beyond occasional email engagement, annual conference attendance and utilization of only some of the association's benefits (rather than all of its benefits) can significantly enhance an association's success.1 Ultimately, by defining member engagement and creating a system to measure it, our goal is to determine how the Michigan Pharmacists Association and Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists can better provide value for members of all levels of experience and expertise.