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Reprinted with permission by the author.

Information overload – we all experience it personally, every day, with our emails and social media feeds and online media and print media and broadcast media, and that’s hard enough to manage. But in 2016, our associations ALSO struggle with information overload. We have many rich sources of data about our members, our other audiences, and our operations that we can mine in a dizzying variety of ways, so many, in fact, that it can be almost impossible to separate the signal from the noise.

On July 19, Trevor Mitchell (American MENSA) and I had the opportunity to address this topic for DMAW’s webinar presenting “Defining and Using KPIs for Measurability and Success.”

We started the hour-long session by talking about the importance of discovering what REALLY drives success for your association. It’s not always the most obvious thing. For instance, in associations, we often focus on member count, and up is always good, right? But if you have a limited universe of potential members, or you’re recruiting marginal members that lead to a lot of churn, maybe constantly increasing membership isn’t actually a KPI for your association – maybe something like market share (that is, what percentage of your overall universe is involved) or member share (that is, how involved are your existing members) would be a better choice.

We also covered the four key categories of KPIs, the siren song of vanity metrics (and how to avoid it), and the importance of measuring what really counts, all illustrated by Trevor’s stories of MENSA’s journey toward identifying their KPIs and using them to drive decisions and create change.

The full recording is now available for free download, so you can learn how to make sense of your data options and identify the levers to push that will genuinely move your association forward.


Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE, is CEO and Chief Strategist at Spark Consulting LLC. Elizabeth has over 19 years of experience helping associations grow, in membership, marketing, communications, public presence, and especially revenue, which is what Spark is all about. She speaks and writes frequently on a variety of topics in association management. When she’s not helping associations grow, Elizabeth loves to dance, listen to live music, cook, garden, and blog about the Philadelphia Eagles.