What We Learned from the 2022 Association Member Experience Survey

Associations, member engagement // For association leaders, the advice is often the same again and again. Find out what your members want. Higher Logic’s 2022 Association Member Experience Report helps you do just that.  

Kelly Whelan
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For association leaders, the advice is often the same again and again. Find out what your members want. Higher Logic’s 2022 Association Member Experience Report helps you do just that.   

Getting Answers Beats Wondering Every Time  

Have you ever asked yourself questions like these? 

  • Are our members finding value in what we’re doing? 
  • How often should I communicate with them? 
  • What’s the best way to reach them? 
  • Why aren’t they interacting with our content?
  • Why are some reluctant to renew?

It’s okay, these are the questions you should always be asking. The success of your association hinges on members finding what you have to offer, and the ways in which you offer it, valuable and useful.   

Consistently seeking input from your members as to what they do and don’t want from you is of enormous service in assessing and adjusting your association’s communications and strategies. A deep knowledge of members is a prerequisite to being able to cut through the noise by anticipating and providing what they want, when they want it, and how they want to get it.   

Listening to and knowing who your members are is also critical to leveraging the power of personalization, which members have increasingly come to expect. Conversely, acting in the absence of known member preferences is a risky endeavor that could result in wasted staff and budget resources that most associations today cannot spare.  

About the Survey  

Higher Logic developed the 2022 Association Member Experience Report to provide insight into what association members expect and value. And while there is no substitute for surveying your own association’s unique membership, this report provides an overview of association member opinions, collected directly from individuals across the United States who are either currently members of an association or have been in the past six months.   

While there are numerous insights available in the full report, here we highlight three that any association team would find informative and actionable.   

Get the Full Report  

Why Members Consider Leaving Their Association  

We all know how critical member retention is to an association’s success. The cost of acquiring a new member is high compared to keeping existing members happy and renewing. And the frustrating thing is, members often leave without giving any prior indication that they were unhappy or considering not renewing. The association finds out only when it’s too late. 

The 2022 Association Member Experience Report reveals why the members who are contemplating leaving their current association(s) are leaning that way.  

Lack of Value
Insights in the report show what typical association members value most, but there’s no question that if they don’t get something they value from their membership – even if they don’t feel like they’re getting value – they find it an easy decision to save the dues and stop the emails.  

Disengagement
Feelings of disengagement can result from weaker efforts in building and fostering association communities. The very definition of community is “A group of people having common interests.” If members are not engaging, it’s unlikely it’s simply because discussions are off topic. It’s because an environment has not been maintained in which they feel their participation is wanted, valued, worthwhile, and encouraged.  

Wanting to Join a Different Association
News flash: associations have competitors. Yes, a member might join more than one relevant association, but on a larger scale, most will choose one that both represents their field of interest and that earns their time, attention, and money. 

How Associations are Communicating vs. How Members Want Them to Communicate 

When there’s a disconnect between which channels associations use most to share information with their members, and which channels those members would rather get that information on…there’s a problem.  

This is a prime example of associations making certain assumptions that may or may not be accurate. Decisions about which communication channels to leverage are often based on the easiest capabilities of the association and not necessarily on the wants of members. Below is a chart lifted from the report that compares what’s being done with what’s preferred. How does your association line up?  

   

Does Personalization Really Matter?  

The younger your association’s membership, the more expectation they have that you know who they are, what topics they’re interested in, what kind of content they like, which sections of the community they actively engage in, how they like to manage their membership, even their birthday or membership anniversary.   

Today’s technology allows associations to track member data to deliver personalized online experiences like never before. Much of this is even done through automation that reduces workload on staff.   

The question is, are associations taking full advantage of it?  

Percentage of members who said a personalized member experience is important to them 

64% 

 

Percentage of members who said their association is providing a personalized member experience 

46% 

 

You can see that while progress is being made, there remains a disconnect in this area between what members want and expect, and the kinds of experiences associations are delivering.   

There’s So Much More to Know 

The first step to knowing what your association members want from you is actively listening to what they’re already telling you. You may be missing opportunities to learn from your own communities, in discussions you aren’t monitoring, or from your member behaviors on your website that you may not be tracking. 

The 2022 Association Member Experience Report is free and offers a lot more revelations than those listed here. It’s a great place to start your obsession with knowing your membership. 

  • Step One: Get the report and find out what association members have to say 
  • Step Two: Run a similar survey of your own membership to see if the answers line up with the general membership sample 
  • Step Three: Reassess your communication strategies through the lens of what you just learned 
  • Step Four: Put the tools and processes in place to regularly and deliberately monitor member activity, sentiment, and concerns so your organization can adjust to hot topics and changing needs. 

Get the Full Report 

 

Kelly Whelan

Content Marketing Manager

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