Increasing Member Engagement through Gamification

Gamification is a business strategy that uses game design techniques in a non-game context to improve user behaviour by engaging and motivating users to achieve their goals. The purpose of gamification is to tap into the basic desires and needs of user impulses based around the concept of achievement and status.

According to a Gartner Research Report by 2015 an estimate of more than 50% of organisations managing innovation processes will gamify those processes.

What does member engagement mean to you?

Member engagement can differ from association to association depending on what it means to you. Do you know the behaviours of your members to help determine how to increase member engagement? Common member behaviours would include: registering for events, reading and contributing to content (news, articles, resources, q&a) and spreading word of mouth.

User journey empathy  

The design of an association website needs to mimic the member engagement paths through offering ease of user journeys throughout the website. Associations need to empathise member’s needs through providing a website that will get them from A to B seamlessly and in a logical way. You don’t want frustrated members unable to perform tasks or have a website that does not even provide certain capabilities. Like you and me, everyone enjoys choice and the option to make decisions based on your interests and goals. 

Where do I start?

Identify if there are any bottlenecks stopping members from performing tasks on the website. Are you lacking key member engagement tools such as;

  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
  • Digests
  • Dynamic Data

If you aren’t using these types of member engagement tools, then chances are that you’re not adequately engaging your members.  


The design of your website is crucial in interacting with your members in a positive and active manner. Does your association website motivate your users to perform certain tasks or does it have the ability to trigger certain notifications? Examples of this include;

  • Push notification via sms
  • Calendar of events to subscribe to
  • Other touch points
  • Bill me later options
  • CRM webform to capture interested peoples data

Create momentum

Don’t wait for your members to come to you, seek them out through test and measure projects. Test different ideas and projects to find out what your members want and what topics are of most interest to them. Then tailor your projects and ideas around your member’s feedback and interactions, find out what works and what doesn’t and soon you’ll have a winning formula. 

Incorporating gamification

MOTIVATION IS KEY – incorporating motivation into a member’s daily routine on significant tasks and activities will increase their overall drive improving engagement. A way of providing motivation is through regular feedback loops which give users a sense of progress. Other ways to increase motivation incorporating gamification include:

  • Congratulations on the first event attended
  • Badge for the first event attended
  • Badges for progress
  • Progress bar to the next achievement

These badges and achievements can then be shown throughout the website encouraging other members and businesses to become involved. Achievements/badges could be attached to the businesses directory listing identifying to other businesses and web users who is up to date with certifications etc.

Gamification can be used is a variety of different ways across an association’s website to increase member engagement.

Gartner predicts by the end of 2014 over 70% of Global organisations will have at least one “gamified” application and that “gamification is positioned to become a significant trend in the next five years.”