Defining the Your Member Survey Objectives

10 Questions to Ask Before Launching Your Member Survey

Clarity is critical. It’s especially critical when you plan on spending thousands of dollars–and your members’ valuable time–on a member survey. Unfortunately, some associations maintain a bi-annual member survey schedule (good) without having a clear idea of what they want to learn (not good). As a result many associations ask the same questions over and over again or end up with a report that doesn’t give them what they need to know.


Hands constituting word "PURPOSE" from the coins.
I was talking with an association CEO the other day and she said, “You know, the real issue isn’t that we don’t need new information. The real issue is that because we’re so close to the association’s and our members’ problems it’s difficult to filter through to what’s most important.”

Here are 10 questions to get your started thinking about how to make the most of the dollars you spend on your membership survey.

1. What are the decisions that your association faces in the two to four years about which you will need to know what members think?

2. What is going on in your members’ world that will or could have an impact on how your association responds or serves members?

3. What assumptions have you been using to make important decisions that you need to validate in this research?

4. Are there trends or activities relevant to your association that you cannot explain with specific facts?

5. Do you have a clear picture of the challenges and pain points your members face at work?

6. Do you have a clear profile of your members?

7. Can you clearly describe specific, meaningful member groups–and retrieve them from your member database–for program planning and marketing?

8. What, if anything, are you doing to improve member recruitment and retention?

9. What are the metrics that you want to monitor moving forward?

10. Do you have the information you need to make informed, fact-based decisions about adding or discontinuing specific member products or services?

Times change, problems change, members change and members’ worlds change. And so, the purpose of the survey and the questions that you ask should change.

Do you need help with your member survey? You can reach me here.

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