Our fast-paced daily lives and workdays limit the time and energy we have to participate in further collaboration and activities. This leads to members either not engaging with the association’s content and offerings or at least reducing their commitments. Members are willing to be engaged, but rarely in the form of long-term intense participation. If you want to keep your members actively engaged, you will have to offer a variety of opportunities for participation as well as emotional engagement. This is where Stakeholder Engagement comes in.
Why emotional member retention is essential
Emotional commitment is essential as it keeps members engaged and returning to the association’s offerings, even if they only get involved on a sporadic basis. Members who are emotionally attached are more likely to identify with the work of the association. They feel that they and their interests are better represented. In the long run the sense of belonging of your members secures baseline retention and ensures a foundation of trust towards your association and all activities.
Mastering current challenges with stakeholder engagement
The collaboration of stakeholders who are spread all over the country or even the world is often complicated. Online-Meetings of the people involved usually can’t be attended by all relevant stakeholders and scheduling usually requires a lot of preparation and follow-up, as well as a lot of effort. The solution here is: Digital committee work on a centralised membership platform. Members of committees and policy groups can not only meet virtually but also collaborate asynchronously in their own time. Decentralisation due to location and time and becomes less constraining because everyone can get involved flexibly and at their own convenience. Stakeholder engagement radically breaks down barriers and empowers all relevant stakeholders to add their thoughts and helps committee managers to pull together this input with ease. Above all, it facilitates a variety of working methods within committees, policy and project groups.
Sharing knowledge and making it actionable
Stakeholder engagement creates a new sense of transparency by structuring knowledge, expertise and results. The Stakeholder Engagement Platform captures milestones, great answers to existing challenges and ideas by storing them in a structured and more accessible way. For example, meeting minutes from the last committee meeting, whether face-to-face or digital, can be uploaded as a document to the appropriate group within the central platform. Changes can be made online within seconds without having to mail new versions. Big updates can automatically be communicated within a weekly digest or directly with a push notification. All changes and all older versions can be viewed as a timeline and be reviewed at a later point in time. This information is archived and doesn’t rely on the availability of certain persons or members. Both new stakeholders and those who have been involved for a long time benefit from this. Newcomers can better familiarise themselves with topics that have already been covered, and experienced members can refresh and even expand their knowledge at will. In general, stakeholders feel more involved in the association’s work as they have access to the association’s information and knowledge at all times. Committee managers save time and can focus on the less bureaucratic tasks. In general, stakeholders feel more involved in the association’s work as they have access to the association’s information and knowledge at all times.
Stakeholder Engagement boosts member involvement
Those who know they can make a meaningful contribution are more likely to want to get involved again. This makes your stakeholder engagement platform a valuable asset in your overall retention strategy. Thanks to transparent communication, your members can immediately see the impact of their suggestions. Lowering the barriers to get involved in the association’s activities help integrate the members with less time at hand. They can answer a quick poll, post comments to a discussion or add their ideas to a brainstorming. When these members see their input is making a difference, they feel encouraged and a new bond is forged.
Identify and encourage fans
Converting members to fans and keeping these fans motivated is an important aspect for many associations.
If you can win fans to the association, a greater sense of belonging is created among them. Engaged and interested people now meet on the Stakeholder Engagement Platform and can network and exchange ideas. This strengthens your internal association network, as members motivate each other and share their knowledge. When other, less committed members now notice how committed work is done on the platform, they will also become more active. The group of fans thus also motivates the rest of the members.
But you do not only benefit internally from fans. A benchmark study Members with a high emotional bond are more willing to recommend the association, its services and events to third parties. This is how you find new potential partners and members who can be motivated for the association’s cause. A high level of member loyalty ensures the further development and growth of your association.
Stakeholder engagement only binds if you allow participation
These and more benefits can only be achieved if you as an association promote stakeholder engagement. Not only do you need to have the technical means, such as an interactive platform, stakeholder engagement is also a matter of your approach. Your members must be given the chance to participate. Do not take this lightly. If you introduce an “interactive” platform but still regulate important discussions and decisions behind closed doors, your stakeholders’ interest and motivation will dwindle. But if you give all stakeholders the opportunity to participate in the association’s work, you will reap benefits such as stronger member engagement and the accumulated knowledge of all stakeholders.