Many organizations miss the boat when they survey their members. They poll the entire membership instead of just the members who matter. I'm sure you care what all your members think but . . . not so fast!
Philosophically, that should be true but, when we look back at previous surveys we often find that nothing much actually changed. Year after year, we see the same old answers to the same old questions. In many cases the survey has become an intellectual exercise at best and a waste of everybody's time at worst.
Let's make some simple adjustments:
1. Commit -- prior to the survey -- that you will give the members what they ask for.
2. Survey your newest members -- those who have joined within the last 12 months.
3. Do it by phone or in person.
4. Ask a couple of simple questions:
[a] What have we done well this past year?
[b] What do you think we could do better?
Let me explain the rationale behind the above:
Item #1 ... No commitment! What's the point?!
Item #2 ... This is the group to whom you recently made a bunch of promises in your membership proposal! They will tell you whether you have kept
those promises. They are the most vulnerable in terms of retention!!! It is also a small and manageable group.
Item #3 ... You'll learn a lot in a 5-10 minute conversation.
Item #4 ... You can ask a bunch of other questions but these are the two that matter. These open-ended questions stimulate productive discussion of
what's on the member's mind ... which is the whole point. Try getting much that's meaningful and actionable from a form. If in doubt, ask
yourself how much you like filling out forms.
What is great about this approach is that you have now engaged your newest members in personal conversations which may well lead to more meaningful
engagement in the future. You care what all your members think but you probably don't have the resources to survey them properly. So why not
limit yourself to the group that is the most vulnerable in terms of retention and make sure you look good to them.
Do it right and you'll love the results.
Remember . . . "Showcase" your members . . . they'll "Showcase" YOU!