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CJAM blog post - Recognising members' needs and expectations

Recognising members’ needs and expectations

Every membership organisation has a rich pool of members, all providing different challenges have having different needs and requirements. Recognise any of these?

We suggest you take this list as a prompt to get you thinking about the type of members your association caters for, there will be many more recognisable characteristics and traits beyond this list.

• The Advocate – A member who will advocate membership and actively participate/volunteer
• The Responder – A member who will respond to a direct call to action
• The Networker – A member who derives great value from networking with their peers
• The Onlooker– A member who derives membership value without participating
• The Cherry Picker– A member who will engage and respond if the opportunity is relevant
• The Activist – A member who proactively champions development/change
• The Professional Developer– A member who derives most value from upskilling and increasing industry knowledge
• The Politician – A member who participates to build political/social presence
• The Bystander– A member who chooses not to engage
• The Resistor – A member (typically long-standing) who does not advocate change

This tapestry of individuals and groups means than personalisation and adaptive messaging is imperative in your member engagement strategy.

Social media platforms and your members

Each of your member types are likely to use different social media platforms; so, you might need to improve or create profiles on the platforms preferred by your audience. To do this you must:

¬ Ensure that your imagery is consistent across your profiles
¬ Create closed groups (invite only) for members who may wish to keep a lower profile
¬ Where relevant, enable reviews and feedback

Once you have all your social media building blocks in place; you will be able to use various techniques to understand your audiences (fans and followers) and distribute content to them. This could be content from your website, as well as posts that you can distribute on the individual platforms.

This ongoing communication should encourage user engagement and actions at different stages of the membership journey.


Collating member types

Whilst the previous list had recognisable characters, it is more sensible to approach your Member Engagement Plan with fewer, slightly broader categories of member to be able to realistically engage online and offline.

1. Learners: These members are involved because they want access to learning materials, a competency framework or other resource to assist with passing exams and career progression.
2. Consumers: They are members who frequently interact with you, online, attending events, reading newsletters, etc. Their interest goes beyond learning materials into industry developments, updates and content.
3. Leaders: They are active on committees, they often help out at events, they are well read and they share your values. They are advocates of your membership benefits and champion your association.
4. Disengaged: They are doing very little with your organisation and certainly aren’t getting value for money. They transact very little with you, they don’t recognise or agree with your policy work and they don’t think you adequately represent them as members.
5. Unengaged: They are members because they think they ought to be or it’s the right thing to do. They keep meaning to read more from your organisation and attend events but never quite achieve.
6. Disgruntled: These members want to believe in you but are struggling due to the offer, policy or something else not being aligned to their needs

Your Member Engagement Plan should seek to ‘flip the funnel’ – using content and interaction from the top three more positive and active interactions to influence and change the behaviour of the bottom three.

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