Do your members find their membership valuable? While most organizations get an answer to that question based on their retention rates, there are often better solutions for association leaders.
Member satisfaction surveys are handy tools that provide a goldmine of information and help organizations understand their members’ experiences and identify areas of improvement. But what questions should you include?
In today's blog, we're diving into the value of member satisfaction surveys and sharing some must-ask questions you should include in yours.
Why Are Member Satisfaction Surveys Important?
A member satisfaction survey is a targeted questionnaire designed to measure the satisfaction, engagement and overall experience of your association's members. The value of a member satisfaction survey lies in its ability to provide actionable data and insights – both on things you’re doing now and what you plan to add to your membership.
This feedback helps you identify strengths and weaknesses within your association, allowing you to address any concerns or areas that need improvement. It also gives you a general idea of how your members interact with your organization and if set up correctly, can also make it easier to understand the various segments within your audience.
Related: Can Surveys Increase Member Engagement?
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Best Practices for Your Surveys
Of course, to get actionable insights from your member satisfaction survey, they need to be completed. Whether they’re sitting in inboxes indefinitely or you’re not getting the breadth of answers you need from your members, here are a few best practices to improve response rates.
- Keep it concise: Aim for a survey that takes no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete. Members are more likely to provide thoughtful responses when surveys aren't overwhelming, so try being specific about what you're looking to get feedback on.
- Mix your question types: Include a combination of open-ended and closed-ended questions, as well as Likert scales, to capture both quantitative and qualitative data. This will provide a well-rounded understanding of your members' experiences.
- Group by topic: Group questions by the key areas you want to assess, such as communication, events or member benefits. This will make the survey easier to navigate and help members focus on each topic as they progress.
- Ensure anonymity: Assure members that their responses will be anonymous and used only to improve the association. This will encourage honest feedback and increase participation.
- Ditch leading questions: Frame questions neutrally to avoid influencing responses. For example, instead of asking "How much do you love our events?" ask "How satisfied are you with our events?"
- Include demographic questions: Collect basic demographic information, such as age, profession, and years of membership, to help you analyze and segment survey responses. This will allow you to identify trends and preferences among different member groups.
- Set a deadline for responses: Establish a reasonable deadline for members to complete the survey and communicate it clearly. This will encourage timely participation – be sure to include last-chance reminders as part of your survey efforts.
Finally, and most importantly, share the results and any planned changes with your members. You want to be sure your organization is offering transparency and accountability, reinforcing the value of member feedback.
Related: Creating Member Onboarding Experiences That Drive Retention
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23 Must-Have Questions for a Comprehensive Member Survey
Now that we know why member satisfaction surveys are important and how to increase the chances you get a response, what questions should you be asking?
- How long have you been a member of our association?
- How many years of experience do you have working in the industry?
- What is your role within your organization?
- How many employees/volunteers work in your organization?
- How would you rate the overall value of your membership?
- How satisfied are you with the benefits and services provided by the association?
- What benefits or services do you find most valuable or useful?
- Are there any benefits or services you would like to see added or improved?
- How would you rate the networking opportunities provided by the association?
- How would you rate your level of engagement with the association (e.g., attending events, participating in committees, volunteering)?
Communications, Content and Benefits
- How satisfied are you with the frequency and quality of communication from us (e.g., newsletters, emails, social media)?
- How easy is it to find information on our website? If you have suggestions for improvement, please share them.
- How satisfied are you with the association's advocacy efforts on behalf of members and the profession?
- How satisfied are you with the professional development opportunities (e.g., workshops, seminars, online courses) offered?
- How satisfied are you with the events, conferences, and webinars organized by the association?
Membership Additions and Content Exploration
- Are there any specific topics or areas you would like to see covered in future professional development programs?
- Are there any event formats or topics you would like to see in future association events?
- What factors influence your decision to participate in association activities and initiatives?
- How can we better support your professional growth and career goals?
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- How satisfied are you with the customer service and support provided by our staff?
- How would you rate the association's governance, transparency and overall leadership?
- Are there any specific areas where you feel the association could improve its performance?
- Is there any additional feedback or suggestions you would like to share with the association?
The Impact of Effective Member Satisfaction Surveys
As an association, understanding your members' needs and preferences can create more relevant and engaging programs, services and benefits. Of course, getting responses from your members is a must, which is why focusing on being concise, mixing up your question style and setting deadlines can all work to improve response rates. Similarly, using the right question is just as important.
Having a strategy in place that helps inform what type of feedback you’re trying to get. Whether it’s an assessment of the value of your membership or what offerings you should be adding, thinking about your questions before sending a member satisfaction survey is key.
Finally, remember the value of surveys. Not only do they help make your membership more valuable by identifying areas for improvement, but also they work to foster loyalty and long-term member engagement.
Jose Triana joined the Sidecar team as the Content Manager in 2021. He is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.