For any membership-based organization, increasing engagement is critical because it generates better relationships with and among members, builds a knowledge community, helps with content, value creation, and results in better quality feedback from members.
A catalyst and premium driver of member engagement is a quality online presence, which makes it a must have for public sector organizations with a large membership base.
In this blog, we will outline these benefits in detail, guide you through aspects of a good digital engagement setup as well as describe functionalities that boost specific types of member engagement we have been developing for decades.
MAIN BENEFITS OF INCREASED MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
1) Increased number of interactions and better communication
Member activities on your platform can take many forms, such as regular newsletters, online forums, or social media updates, frequent events and knowledge sharing sessions. However, regardless of type, quality member engagement usually leads to increased communication between the organization and its members.
Whatever your engagement medium is, you need to make sure that the functionalities support the type of engagement you want from your members (collaboration, discussions, certifications etc.) and that the user experience is up to par. By keeping members well informed and engaged, your organization builds stronger relationships with its members, resulting in higher retention rates and member satisfaction.
2) A better understanding of member needs and requirements
With more interactions on your digital platform comes the potential for better understanding of your core members and how they want to interact with you, if you take the time and use the right tools to analyze the volume and interaction types.
By offering easy ways for your members to provide feedback, any organization can gain insights into its strengths and weaknesses. This can help the organization identify areas for improvement and provide valuable data that can be used to make informed decisions about future initiatives and services. Additionally, the data can also highlight the types of interactions that provide actual values and are actually improving the community you’re trying to build.
3) Creating a knowledge-sharing community
Thirdly, increased member engagement can create a real community of practice. This means that members of the organization can connect with each other, share knowledge and best practices, and collaborate on projects. By creating a sense of community, the organization can foster a supportive and collaborative environment, which elevates not only platform engagement, but helps your overall cause.
TOOLS THAT HELP YOU GET THERE
Here is the main set of tool types and functionalities we propose to start elevating digital engagement for your organization. Hopefully, you’re already familiar with some of these.
1) Feedback collection tools
Tools for quick and efficient digital polling and online feedback forms are crucial for gathering valuable insights from members. Implementing efficient feedback collection solutions allows organizations to understand their members' needs, preferences, and suggestions, enabling them to make informed decisions and improve their services. Alongside this, analyzing member behavior and how they interact with your platform can provide invaluable insight into what works and what doesn’t.
2) Integrated chat functionalities
Enabling direct communication between members and the organization fosters real-time interaction and collaboration. Integrated chat features facilitate quick and convenient communication, enabling members to ask questions, seek assistance, or engage in discussions with each other. Chat bots, live chats and peer-to-peer communications allow members to get immediate access to information, help and support whenever they need it. This also helps to build a sense of community and increases the number of member interactions.
The global communications provider Infobip outlines numerous benefits of live chat integration, listing a double digit increase in appointment confirmations and numerous other benefits for companies.
3) Integrated document editing
Collaborative work on documents can be simplified through integrated document editing tools. These enable members to collaborate on files simultaneously, make real-time edits, track changes, add document versioning and streamline the review process. All this works wonders for productivity and cooperation among members, especially when working on shared and collaborative projects.
4) File sharing solutions
Internal and external file sharing solutions play a vital role in facilitating seamless sharing of documents, media files, and other resources among members. These solutions ensure that relevant information is always easily accessible, fostering efficient collaboration and knowledge sharing within the organization. Additionally, external file sharing capabilities allow organizations to securely exchange files with external stakeholders, such as partners.
5) Member forums, customizable discussion boards
Building a community-based knowledge exchange through closed forums and discussion boards provide dedicated spaces for members to exchange ideas, discuss topics of interest, and share knowledge within a controlled environment. However, active participation of members doesn't just happen and is usually fuelled by compelling functionalities, easy to use message boards and good overall user experience. If done right, the implementation of forums and discussion boards encourages more active participation through a community they can engage with on a daily basis.
6) Voting and election tools
For organizations that require internal elections or decision-making processes involving members, voting and election tools are crucial. These tools provide a structured and efficient way to organize and conduct elections, polls, or surveys, allowing members to participate in the decision-making process. This fosters engagement, empowers members to have a voice, and enhances transparency within the organization.
7) E-learning and certification modules
Tailored e-learning and certification modules cater to the specific educational needs of an organization. These tools provide a platform for delivering educational content, training materials, courses, and assessments to members. By offering relevant and targeted learning opportunities, organizations can enhance member engagement, professional development, and skill-building within their community.
Understanding the importance of these tools and integrating them effectively into a website or platform can significantly contribute to increasing member engagement, improving communication, and fostering a collaborative environment for both the organization and its members.
With more than 25,000 members representing oncology professionals from over 160 countries worldwide, European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) is the European focal point for oncology education and information. We designed and implemented several modules for member engagement, ranging from E-Learning, Exams & Quizzes, Guidelines Voting & Polling and Declaration of Interests forms (DoI), with excellent engagement results.
With these and other projects for large-scale organizations, we became even more convinced that engagement solution customization and quality integration with existing systems are the two main keys to success.
Customization and integrated solutions as a recipe for success
Large scale organizations usually feature legacy tech and numerous interconnecting systems that need to be properly connected with any new solution.
So, your member engagement tools need to be fully integrated into existing systems such as CRMs and internal knowledge management or learning management systems (LMS). All solutions should be built and utilized with this approach in mind.
While off-the-shelf systems may be cheaper, they can produce inferior experiences, create information silos due to poor communications with other organizational systems and present problems when it comes to protecting user data and organizational privacy.
Netgen has extensive experience in developing websites and digital environments for public sector organizations. Having worked with ESMO, ISSAT, WBCSD, and IRB and many more to create quality online platforms that help them engage with their members, we gained the experience necessary to improve the engagement with your organization’s online platform.
Still wondering how? Get in touch here, let’s talk and maximize your member engagement together.