Member Engagement

Research by Design is the leading market research agency for membership associations in the UK. Our unrivalled experience in the membership sector has given us a deep understanding of the complex and unique challenges that membership associations face.

Engagement toolkit diagram 

One of the much talked about topics in the sector is member engagement. With the sector finding it difficult to agree a definition let alone a way of measuring it we thought we’d step in and help. Through a review of literature written about consumer and staff engagement and our own research in this area we are in a unique position to be able to:

  • Define member engagement
  • Understand member engagement
  • Measure member engagement
  • And help our clients increase member engagement

 You can read about our thinking on defining and measuring member engagement here.

For more information or to talk through our work, why not get in touch.


As part of our commitment to the sector, we have partnered with the MemberWise Network to offer a number of sector resources.

Member Engagement Toolkit

The Member Engagement Toolkit is the leading (free) practical resource for membership and association professionals looking to take a more structured approach to optimising and enhancing member engagement. 

To download the toolkit, click here.

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Member Engagement Boot Camps

We are pleased to be involved in an exciting new programme of half-day member engagement focused training events (Boot Camps) that will enable you to take a more structured, robust and informed approach to member engagement. Each Boot Camp will feature a ‘deep dive’ into the ground-breaking Member Engagement Toolkit, showcase innovative approaches to member engagement and provide participants with a clear and actionable plan.

You can view the full programme, and book a place online here.


Digital Excellence Survey Summary Report

Research by Design is also the recognised research supplier for the Digital Excellence Survey. The 2017 Survey Summary Report is now available to view online and provides a targeted and content rich snap-shot of association and membership organisation online goals, challenges, development and progress.

You can download the report here.

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Here are some of our recent membership related communications:

Member Engagement model

 Member engagement: why one size doesn't fit all

 Engagement matters. Engaged members are more likely to renew AND they are more likely to advocate. The value of engaged members is immense. But many member organisations struggle to define what engagement means for them, let alone measure it in a way that provides meaningful insight. Where there is no ‘corporate’ definition of member engagement, there may be differing views among internal stakeholders about what constitutes engagement.

 Read More




How to reach out to your members? 

 Members are often at the heart of membership organisations, but keeping current members engaged or reaching out to them in addition to new potential recruits is not always an easy task. For a long time, magazines and emails have been used as the key channels to communicate with members but as our world rapidly evolves, new means of communication have also appeared, enabling organisations to reach out more effectively to their members.

 Read More 


SetSize620246 advocacy blue Member experiences that result in advocacy, or not

What is it about the member experience that results in members advocating, or not, others to join their professional association? For many it’s a culmination of experiences, though there can be just one key touchpoint that can lead to a make or break, as my examples below show: This member was generally satisfied with her professional association membership. She was receiving regular updates about changes to legislation, educational resources and local events. She was engaging as and when it seemed relevant. Then a friend recommended she spend quite a lot of money to attend the annual conference. 

 Read More




SetSize620246 Communications

5 top communication tips for membership organisations 

Research by Design often undertakes research with prospective members of an organisation as the results can help guide strategy planning in a number of valuable ways. Communication is always key so we have identified a few hints and tips to help membership organisations evaluate how effective theirs is.

Read More



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Top tips on membership retention 

 The key to understanding membership retention is to take a step back, put yourselves in the shoes of your members and really reflect on what is important to them as individuals. There are many things that can help a member feel more bonded to an organisation at an individual level, but these three broad themes cover the areas that you should pay most attention to when thinking about member retention.

 Read More