best practices

Rethinking Research: How to Get the Information You Really Need

Do you have the information you need to make the important decisions you face? How helpful was your most recent research project with helping you understand the context for your deliberations and evaluating your alternative courses of action with fact-based information? If your answer is “No!” and “It wasn’t helpful at all!” then it’s time…

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Four Practices of Focused Organizations

Focus Takes Practice I have been practicing meditation every morning for 18 months. While meditating this morning I thought about what kind of cheese to put on my veggie wrap at lunch, wondered what happened to Sharon, my best friend from seventh grade, and reminded myself to update my subscription to the Wall Street Journal.…

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Just Tell Me What You Want!

Why Asking Members What They Want Doesn’t Work “What product or service can the Widget Association provide that would make a significant difference to you and your work?” What a great question, right? Associations want to give members what they want, so let’s just ask them! Unfortunately, the responses to this type of question are rarely, if…

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Increase Your Online Survey Response Rates

Survey Design, Invitations, Timing and Other Tips that Boost Participation I worked with one client who was resigned to one percent response rates on her organization’s surveys. There was little I could do to convince her that we could move the needle. On the other end of the spectrum, I worked with one association executive who was…

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What You Need to Know About Sample Size

How Many Survey Responses Do You Really Need? You don’t need thousands of survey responses to be confident in your research. Even so, nearly every association I have worked with invites all members–as well as past members and non-members in many cases–to participate in their surveys. On one recent project a client invited all 100,000…

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Make It Easy. And Let Them Know You Care.

A non-profit pro bono client recently handled sending out their own survey invitations. Out of about 1,700 emails they sent, they got a whopping five survey responses. FIVE. Fortunately, the reasons for the dismal response rate were fairly easy to correct. They didn’t follow the two overarching rules for creating successful email survey invitations: 1) Make…

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