Membership Organisations and Member Engagement | what does it take to deliver the online experience that members want?

04 Jun 2018 by Peter Ebdon

Among many other considerations, the key goals for a Membership Organisation when planning the development of a Membership website are to retain current members and acquire new ones. A crucial step toward achieving this is to provide a value-driven online experience that engages users from the second they arrive at the site. In order to do this the Membership website needs to be as useful to members as it can possibly be, with functionality that helps them as much as it helps the organisation. So what do today’s members expect from a Membership Organisation’s website?

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Availability of self-service options

It’s all about convenience. People are busy and can begrudge having to make lengthy phone calls or play email tennis just to communicate simple details to a Membership Organisation. Instead they prefer to access a site through whichever media device is at hand and make a few clicks when they have a spare moment.

They want to carry out as much activity as possible when they visit the site such as

  • registering for new membership
  • renewing or upgrading membership
  • making payments
  • applying for courses
  • registering for events
  • accessing data
  • amending account details
  • asking questions
  • contributing to forum discussions
  • connecting with other members

 

Easy access through mobile devices

Responsive design is vital to ensure that a website delivers a consistent and engaging experience across all media devices including desktop PCs, tablets and mobile phones. There is no need for organisations to invest in the development of separate apps in order to ensure engagement with those members who prefer to interact with them whilst on the move.

An online solution designed with a responsive layout will adapt its content to suit whichever device is being used to view it. All new solutions should adopt this approach in order to reach as many users as possible and offer them the best possible online experience.

This means that members can log in to the same site wherever they are and access all the information they need. Smart phones are being used more and more to access web content. For Membership Organisations this means that if they hope to retain the interest of their members it is more important than ever to provide them with the functionality and experience they are learning to expect.

 

Accessibility

The Equality Act 2010 (EQA) which came into force in October 2010 imposes a duty on service providers to make “reasonable adjustments” to enable disabled persons to access their services. This includes websites, and in order to meet the necessary requirements Membership Organisations must ensure that their website is WCAG 2.0 compliant.

Not only does this ensure that more members are able to access the online information and services they are providing but also avoids hefty fines for not complying with the law.

Prospective and existing members with disabilities will and should expect to be able to access all the content that is available to everyone else.

A reputable development company will be well aware of the WCAG 2.0 regulations and will ensure that the necessary standards are met so that all members are equally satisfied with their experience. Membership Organisations need to be aware that they have a responsibility to check that their website meets the necessary criteria and that their developers have got this covered.

If you are thinking about upgrading your own Membership Organisation website Achorda are happy to offer some free advice to point you in the right direction.

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