Map your member experience journey today

Once a member joins your association, the hope is that the member is just beginning a long and prosperous journey with you.  However, this starting point begins a series of interactions and “touches” with your organization that can lead to happy members – or members running for the exit.

In our most recent member engagement studies, we have been exploring how member experiences are tied to engagement.  What we’ve found is that when looking at the root causes of stronger or weaker engagement, associations must look at the quantity, quality, and variety of the experiences members have with them.

Using the four steps below, you can quickly begin to assess your member experience journey and boost engagement today:

  1. Look at the top 8-10 products, programs, resources, services, or experiences that members have with your association. What constitutes an experience with your organization varies depending on how tangible it can be.  Examples could be receiving your newsletter, reading the journal, attending an event or conference, donating to the PAC, writing a legislator, etc.
  2. To the best of your ability, bucket these into “high,” “moderate,” and “low” experience levels. Go down your list of offerings, and for each one ask: “what percentage of the membership interacts with this?”  If it’s 75% and above, it’s a high experience offering.  Under 40% is a low experience offering, and everything else is a moderate experience.  After these are categorized, group the highs together, the moderates together, and the lows together.
  3. Where do you think your “tipping points” occur? In between each experience bucket is a “tipping point” to get to the next level of experience.  These could be experiences that are in-person; experiences that your members would say exceed expectations, are industry leading or best-in-class; experiences that are unique relative to your competitions; experiences that involve regular interactions; experiences that are triggered by a personal invitation.
  4. What are the barriers to having that experience? We’ve seen barriers – both intentional and unintentional – that associations create to moving along the experience journey.  Some examples we’ve seen are dues, travel, extra website log-in, awareness, format preferences, meeting size, and inconsistent chapter experiences.

Plot these items for your members to the best of your ability.  This will give you a rough idea of what your member experience journey is, and where barriers might exist to moving your members along that journey.

The final part to this mapping exercise is to ask, “What can we do in response?”  There are two paths your association can go.  Option one is to create value at each experience level.  This will allow you to use your current model to strengthen the relationship and engagement you have with your members at each stage.  An example of this could be to personalize your newsletters to different segments or to create chapter charters making the chapter experience more consistent.

The second option is to migrate members through the journey toward more advanced, or low experience, levels.  Using the barriers to each experience level, work with your team to reduce them.  Whether it’s offering free content or streamlining the log-in experience on your website, find ways to make it easier for members to move to the next level of experience.

Utilizing either option or a combination of the two is sure to help you in your engagement efforts in the long run, resulting in that long-term and prosperous future you both dreamed of.

If you or your organization need help with a data-driven member experience map, call us today at 317.465.1990 or email at

Posted in Associations, Blog, Insights, LRC Blog.