Often, an association is only as good as its members. Its dedication and participation are what makes the chapter worthwhile. So, it is always vital to keep your finger on the pulse of your membership. As your chapter grows, it can be hard to maintain a personal level of interaction with each member, but one of the best ways to keep in tune is conducting membership satisfaction surveys.
By surveying your members regularly, you give them an outlet for voicing opinions that they might not otherwise say. Perhaps more importantly, these surveys organize and tabulate their answers in a cohesive manner - so that you can actually make sense of and use their feedback.
So, what questions should you be asking?
• First things first - get to know your members. It's important to know what type of member is answering the survey. Even if your survey is anonymous, it can be helpful to know things like:
How long have you been a member?
Have you ever served on the board or a committee?
How many chapter functions did you attend this year?
• Your best strategy for growing the chapter is to use your current membership to your advantage. Learn what made them join with questions like:
How did you find out about the chapter?
What made you decide to join the chapter?
Are there any other people that might be interested in joining? If so, please list them.
• Hold yourself accountable for all aspects of the chapter and ask how your members feel about each. Especially for new projects, ask specific questions like:
How valuable do you think the chapter newsletter is?
How would you rate the usability of the chapter's event registration process?
How smoothly do you feel the board elections went?
• Always ask about events. Your conferences and seminars are a major component of your chapter's value, and you need to ensure that your programs are worth coming back to. Pose questions like:
How valuable was last month's speaker series?
What was the best aspect of this year's conference? The worst?
What venue have you liked best this year?
• Always try to predict the future. Membership satisfaction surveys are a great way to improve your future plans; you have to ask the right questions, like:
How likely are you to renew your membership?
Do you have any suggestions for improving next year's annual conference?
What would you like to learn about in the next continuing education event?
What other questions do you have for increasing the effectiveness of your membership satisfaction surveys?