Membership engagement

Why Your Nonprofit Organization Needs An Online Member Directory

February 20, 2023

If the goal of your online community is to boost member engagement over time, then your nonprofit organization should highly consider investing in a member directory. Although it might not be intuitive, there are many ways a strong member directory can boost member interaction in an online community.

The Problem With Online Communication

For a start, written communication fundamentally lacks many aspects of in-person interaction that are required for optimal engagement. In fact, studies show that a whopping 70% to 93% of all communication is non-verbal. One way of addressing that is through a member directory, which helps  fill in the gaps in online communication.

The Benefits Of Having An Online Member Directory

Think of an online directory as every member’s critical information consolidated into one web-accessible location. Having information organized in this way makes it easier for community leaders and members to identify each other’s interests and preferences. 

Directories also make it easier for support teams to answer people’s questions and address concerns in a timely manner. Ultimately, member directories facilitate in aligning communication across an entire community. Here are three more reasons for integrating a member directory into your organization:

1. Networking Among Individual Members And Organizations
Once you create an account and join an online community, the first thing you’ll likely see is a news feed and conversation threads – like the typical social media experience. Even though you see many conversations in front of you, it's hard to get involved in or start a meaningful conversation if you don’t have any background knowledge about the individual members. A member directory can help resolve this problem by giving members an easy way to look up every member’s profile information. Think of it as a bridge to forming relationships. This idea can also be applied to networking across multiple nonprofit organizations.

2. Creates Opportunities Out Of Common Interests
Although most nonprofit communities are formed out of a common cause, having an online directory can help members find people who have other common interests or backgrounds. The more commonality people can find in each other – the easier it’ll be for them to form close connections.

3. Boosts Professional Reputation
Often overlooked, an organization provides a professional touch when it requires a new member to create a member account during onboarding. It gives new members a certain level of confidence in the organization. In other words, they’ll be led to believe that this organization knows what it’s doing and can be trusted.

As a result, the positive impression leads to increased engagement. In fact, 83% of polled persons believe that this level of trust also boosts loyalty. Member directories build long-term trust by helping people feel welcomed into the community. They are encouraged to ask questions and learn from others.

Not having a directory of detailed member profiles would be like having a collection of anonymous profiles. Because everyone would appear questionable, there would be a drop in positive engagement as a result.

Establish a Member Directory For Your Nonprofit

Member directories increase trust, boost the perception of professionalism, provide opportunities that wouldn’t be available otherwise, and most importantly, boost engagement for your online community. Discover how else your nonprofit can boost membership and community engagement here.

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