Data is everywhere, with information on buyer preferences, voter leanings, worker productivity and more available at the drop of a hat. Whole industries have developed to help make sense of the data and use it to provide a best path forward. Membership organizations have their own pool of information on that they don’t always take advantage of – information about their members. This information can be used to monitor member activity and show any trends, find the best places to recruit new members, and even predict how long members will stay in the organization. Here, we take a look at how to take advantage of member analytics and run the numbers on your members.
One of the best ways to collect data on your members and keep the information centralized is to use a membership database. You can create a member database yourself if you have in-house IT capabilities, but if you don’t, you can purchase member management software that includes member databases, such as Wild Apricot. The capabilities of the databases can vary based on what software you purchase, but many give you a centralized place to track your member roster and registrations, communications with your members, and basic member information like phone number, address and email address.
Once you’ve collected and centralized your member data, it’s time to start analyzing it. Again, you can do this piece in-house if you have the inclination and time, but if you have a larger membership organization the time and amount of number-crunching involved may be prohibitive. In that case, you can turn to an analytics company, like DSK Solutions, or a membership management solution with an analytics add-on, like XSolutions. Analytics tools or professionals can run reports based on your member data that pull out your member demographics, membership lifespans, monthly member engagement reports, and more. If you don’t want to pay for database add-ons or services, you can also try using Google Analytics. While it may not run membership reports for you, it is a valuable tool that you can use to track the effectiveness of your organization marketing or PR efforts through its website analytics functions. You can also use the Google Analytics tool to find out where your organization’s website hits are coming from, giving you valuable information about groups or areas to target during your next member recruitment drive.
Once you have information on your members in hand, it’s time for you to decide what you want to do with it. Your member analytics and information will only be as effective as the steps that you take to implement or ameliorate what you’ve learned. For example, if the reports you’ve run indicate the February has been the worst month for member recruitment for the past several years, you need to investigate what makes the February numbers so poor. Once you’ve found that out, you need to decide what to do about it. Running your member numbers won’t magically fix things for you. Instead, you can think of your member data and analytics as a signpost, pointing you in the direction you need to go.