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Part 1: How to Engage Non-Members

Members are an integral part of your chapter. They are, in fact, at the center of your success. Or, at least they should be. How engaged your members are provides solid evidence from which to measure your chapter’s success. Previously, we offered a scale to measure engagement. Now, we will be taking a look at ways to quantify and achieve that engagement in a three-part series of the lifecycle of a member. Part 1 explores the levels of engagement for prospective members.  In Part 2 we explore engagement during active membership while Part 3 examines engagement as a leader.

When prospects seek out your chapter, the engagement is to reach member conversion. But, engagement doesn’t start once someone becomes a dues-paying member. That is the fourth level of engagement. Usually it begins with a search.

Level 1: Visiting the website

Community members from within the industry and the area you serve will find your website. They will peruse it for information that might be of value to them. While you may have a members’ only section that has more detailed materials for your paying members, there should be a wealth of information available free of charge to prospective members. This material should represent the value your chapter offers to both the community and members. Your chapter’s website should not make a prospect feel like they have to join to benefit from your chapter. At the same time, it should invite potential new members, as well as anyone else in the community, to sign up to receive more information via your newsletter.

Level 2: Signing up to receive the newsletter

If your website has done its job, prospects will have subscribed to receive announcements via email about your chapter. This should include articles about aspects of your industry as well as invitations to events that are open to non-paying members as well as paying members. The goal of the newsletter remains to provide continuing knowledge to members of the community, members and non-members alike. However, the hope is that prospects will attend your events.

Level 3: Attend meetings without joining the chapter

Welcome non-member guests to your meetings as though they are a member. While they may not be able to vote, should there be an election, ensure that they know they are wanted at the meeting so they can be aware of the value that the chapter brings to them. They are, after all, a part of the industry community. Be sure that leadership reaches out to them both at the meetings and after the meeting. Tenured members can have one-on-one meetings with prospects to swap stories about their journey in the field. In the end, the prospect will know that they would be a valued member of your chapter and convert their status from guest to member.   

Level 4: Become a member of the chapter.

Signing up as an official member of your chapter is a commitment on the part of the member and the chapter. From the new member, there is an agreement to pay dues and attend meetings to receive the value they signed up for. As a chapter, you agree to provide members with those basic member values promised, which includes continued valued content and constant communication with your members. Your new members may never go beyond simply signing up and attending regular member meetings, but it is an essential turning point in their journey along the engagement scale. Hopefully, they will take a more active role at some point, growing your chapter success.

Here's Part 2: Getting Members Active in Your Chapter, where we look at active membership engagement levels more closely.

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