Can Online Functionality Increase Member Engagement?

Lori Halley 20 December 2010 2 comments

As the calendar year winds down many organizations are looking for time-saving online applications to help juggle the busy event, holiday and renewal period. But remember that your members are time-strapped too. As you review your existing or new online applications, be sure that one of the key benefits of any solution is ease-of-use for members and prospects.

Online functionality can increase participation and member numbers too!

In reviewing response to a Wild Apricot survey, we noted that the ability to automatically manage member enrollment and events online were noted as the key functions that non-profit organizations found most useful. While this wasn't a surprise, what was really telling were testimonials noting that improved functionality of websites, easy-to-use online event registration and renewal processes had not only provided huge time savings for the organizations, but had actually increased event participation and increased membership numbers as well.

Improved engagement means increased renewals

Erik Schonher demonstrates the correlation between member engagement and renewal by citing research confirming that in the past year members who...

  • upgraded their membership to a higher level of service were 12% more likely to renew
  • ordered a product in the past year were 28% more likely to renew
  • were also chapter members were 17% more likely to renew
  • attended an association meeting in the past year were 19% more likely to renew
  • attended four or more meetings were 30% more likely to renew

Combining social media with easy-to-use technology

Even in our Internet age, the cycle of communicating with members - to build engagement to promote renewal hasn't changed, but the tools we use to execute it have.  Most non-profit organizations are using a variety of communications methods to keep members informed and promote participation.  But despite your best efforts in reaching out to members via social media networks or offering appealing content on your website, the true test of your organization's online abilities may come down to ease-of-use and functionality.

In a world of instant messaging and instant gratification, it follows, that we all want quick and easy online transactions. Our non-profit association customers tell us they need to respond to "impulse buyers" in order to increase last minute event registrations and just-in-time renewals. This means having an easy-to-use website interface that also offers back-end functionality to facilitate both up-to-the-minute event reports as well as instantaneous changes to website content, blogs and event enrollment instructions.

It's not high touch versus high tech

Although website functionality and regular updating of website content is critical, we recognize that membership engagement doesn't exclusively revolve around technology. Associations need to constantly demonstrate value of membership through regular and varied forms of communication - alerts, newsletters, blogs, updates and other calls to action.  In an article in Association Now, Leila Faucette, the sole employee of a Kentucky non-profit, notes that while she relies on an association management system to make website changes and improvements almost on a daily basis to ensure her members receive information quickly and easily, she maintains a balance of personal and electronic communication to provide service excellence to her members.

How can technology help solve your challenges? 

Is your organization looking for solutions to enrollment, event management or renewal issues?  Share your biggest challenges so we can discuss possible solutions in future blog posts.

Learn More:

For more information on using technology to solve association challenges...

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 20 December 2010 at 4:46 PM

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  • Allan Leonard said:

    Monday, 20 December 2010 at 10:40 PM

    And if Wild Apricot could make it easier to link our Wild Apricot website activity to associated social media sites we'd be all the happier :-)

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Tuesday, 21 December 2010 at 5:37 AM

    Hi Allan, thanks for your comment.  I'm not sure exactly what social media sites you're thinking about, but are a number of ways to link Wild Apricot activity to various sites depending on what you are hoping to do.  We have documentation for some third-party tools on our help site:

    If you're thinking about Twitter and Facebook, they provide a number of different widgets and feeds, many of which can also be used with Wild Apricot:

    If you need assistance with these, contact our support team at

    We're always looking at ways to improve Wild Apricot, so if you have specific suggestions about features you'd like to see, please post them on our Wishlist forum at

Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.


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