How Can Your Association Combat Passive Membership?

Most of us are guilty of signing up for a group, membership or club with every intention of staying active and involved... only to become disengaged and drop off sooner than anticipated. This unfortunately is a very common theme within associations. In a new report, The American Engagement Index, a staggering number of members admitted to becoming passive participants or only "members in name" once their organization was not able to capture and retain their attention long-term. Passive participation only leads to one thing... membership cancellation.

Examining this path to passiveness is important for understanding the factors that push members to this point. It’s easy for members to become passive and eventually fully inactive when there isn’t anything influencing their ongoing engagement. The most common and impactful of these factors is a lack of mobile presence.

When an association includes an app with their membership, they’re making content, features, member interaction and events instantly accessible to users right from their mobile device. The experience is significantly less efficient and productive when websites (regardless if they’re mobile-responsive) are instead relied on for maintaining engagement. When going this route, barriers and distractions come in the form of internet browsers, constant re-logging in, slow connections, missed information and flooded email inboxes. 

An association should not only strive for quantity in memberships but quality. Passive members fuel continuous membership churn. The initiatives and events your organization puts forth are better served when members are actively seeking to participate. When they have a mobile app within arms reach at all times, with push notifications deployed as new content and updates are uploaded, they then become hard to miss.

So in order to combat passiveness among members, associations must do all they can to become active themselves. Thinking websites and emails are sufficient today makes the organization just as passive. Sticking to outdated communication tools does not suggest any active, forward-thinking strategies. Associations need to set the tone - if they want to see effort from their members, their members need to see maximum efforts from them. The greater the involvement from members, the greater the value an association has.

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Katie Argueta

Director of Communications, Pinxter Digital

12 April 2018