‘Ensuring member value is a huge concern that is keeping association executives up at night,’ according to one recent Association TRENDS report.  So how do you know if you are delivering value and that your strategic plans are in line with what your members need and value most?

One effective way to do this is to ask your members.  Often the most cost efficient way to communicate to your members is via an online survey.  But before you decide to send out a routine online survey, it is wise to pause and ask yourself these seven questions:

  1. Is this approach the best for reaching all key constituents of our membership?
  2. What was the response rate the last time we did a similar exercise?  Many online surveys typically achieve less than a 10% response, so by definition they struggle to achieve adequate representation.
  3. How can we achieve better representation of key constituents from our surveys?
  4. How do we ensure that what we survey is not driven by pet ‘loves ‘or ‘hates’ of the board, or employees, but is guided by what really matters to our members and customers?
  5. How do we truly ensure that the survey process is objective and unbiased, so that our members are comfortable enough to be open and honest without fear of being judged?
  6. How do we ensure the questions are designed and asked in an unbiased way?
  7. How will we as an organization achieve real value that will impact our bottom-line from this exercise?

Online surveys can be valuable when used appropriately.  Other methods are often required, such as quota telephone interviews; facilitated group discussions and / or in-depth interviews to ensure all key constituents are reached.

At ABE Research, we typically walk our clients through these types of questions and more to ensure that any research that is undertaken, truly addresses the issues in hand, reaches the right audience and delivers tangible value.  As a result, you not only get a measure on value and your ROI but the process itself is worth the investment.


Prudence Shapcott is the lead consultant at ABE Research.
www.aberesearch.com
prudence@aberesearch.com