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How to Build a Vibrant Community to Boost Member Retention

How to Build a Vibrant Community to Boost Member Retention

Today’s professionals want to be part of a community—but not just any community will do. What they really want is a vibrant community that pulsates with life and an energy of its own.

But how do you create that space for your members? And why does it matter?

In a recent webinar, the Forj team revealed how building a vibrant community can help associations solve one of their biggest challenges: boosting member retention. The key is to think differently about the experience you deliver, how you define vibrancy, and how you measure community success. 

The Community Pool

One of the best ways to imagine the potential of your online community is to compare it to a vibrant community you already know.

Hoyt Park Pool is a common gathering spot in the community of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It's not the lifeguards or staff who make the pool a fun place to be. The people who come to the pool engage with each other, and that's what makes it a great experience.

With a maximum capacity of about 1,000 people, only about 2% of the city's population can attend the pool at any time. Yet when the pool is buzzing with kids playing and parents chatting, no one would argue that it is anything other than a vibrant community.

The community pool benefits all the residents who live in the city by helping to build connections. The quality of interactions at the pool matters: kids play and become friends, parents chat and get to know each other, people take swimming lessons and learn new skills. And the quantity of people in the pool matters: if it drops below a certain number of attendees, kids can't find anyone to play with, and if it gets too crowded, the quality of the experience decreases.

Much like Hoyt Park Pool, your online community positively impacts the member experience, even if only a subset of your members participate at any given time. These members create interaction, learning opportunities, and content for more passive members—and this is what keeps people coming back for more.

Steps to Build a Vibrant Community and Boost Retention

Creating a vibrant community may not happen overnight, but that doesn't mean it's a distant dream. Here are three things you can do today to boost vibrancy and member retention:

  1. Assess your member experience. Member experience is at the heart of vibrant online communities. The professionals who join your association want to feel connected. They're seeking a sense of belonging. It's not the number of members but the depth of their engagement that truly matters.
  2. Determine your members' meaning of "vibrant." Building a thriving community requires understanding what vibrancy means to your members. Each community's definition will be a bit different, but it always begins with members' perceptions of the value you provide. 
  3. Focus on quality over quantity. Rather than focusing on increasing the number of members in your community, create strategies to enhance the quality of their engagement. Foster connections, encourage meaningful discussions, and provide valuable resources. 

The Moral of the Story

While a large community can be impressive, it's the depth of engagement that truly matters. Prioritize creating a space where members genuinely connect, share, and grow together, and watch your community thrive and your members stay. 

Want to learn more about boosting member retention with vibrant communities? Click here to access the webinar recording of "Boosting Member Retention with Vibrant Communities." You'll discover strategies and tools to create a community that matters to your members. 

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