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on 26 Jan 2017 10:36 PM
  • Membership Development
  • Event Management

In last week's post, we looked at why membership surveys are important, and the basic demographic and personal information you need to understand who your members are. The key to retaining your members - and attracting new ones - is knowing what they need and value, how you can fill those needs, and what they think of your organization.


Once you have some data to paint a good picture, you can begin adapting your strategies so that you're relevant and providing better value. That's ultimately the deciding factor in whether your members stay or go.

Here we look at the kinds of questions you'll need to ask to collect this vital data ...

Annual Membership Investment – and RETURN VALUE on Investment

Knowing how much revenue you are generating through each member can help you prioritize where to devote your efforts. Some experts are now suggesting that perceived value on investment is an even stronger motivator than actual return on investment for members to join and renew. Perceived value is what people are willing to spend on a particular product or service.

Comparing what members are spending with their perceived value of the benefits can help you identify potential barriers to retention. It can also give you clues as to how your benefits could be packaged differently to provide your members with more value for money.

When you analyze perceived value in conjunction with your members’ challenges, you’ll be able to determine how well you’re delivering your value promise.

Questions to ask in your membership survey:

  • Which programs and benefits have you used during the year, and how often?
  • For each benefit you’ve used, what dollar value would you assign to it?
  • How much did you invest in our association during the year, including dues + add-ons?
  • Do you believe your membership investment last year was fair, less than fair, or more than fair for the value you received?

Challenges and Needs

Your association exists to meet your members’ needs. Staying ahead of the curve and leading the charge on new information and industry trends is an important feature of many associations. For this reason, it is crucial not to become one of those associations that offer the same exact services year after year.

Could it be possible that your services are designed to meet challenges that are no longer relevant or not as valued? Your survey can help you find out.

Questions to ask in your membership survey:

  • What are the top three challenges you are facing right now?
  • Rank our services based on what you feel is most important. (List all services)
  • Is there anything you would like to see added or enhanced about our service offerings?
  • What other member-based industry organizations do you belong to?

Perception of Your Organization

Perceived value is the fundamental driver of membership, and different members value different things. If you consider your organization to be a leader in your industry, you should find out whether your members agree.

Questions to ask in your membership survey:

  • What do you believe is the primary function of our association?
  • Compared to other organizations in the industry, what are the advantages of belonging to our organization?
  • How did you first hear about us?
  • Do you intend to renew your membership?
  • If not, what could we offer you that would make you renew?
  • What do you like the most about being a member of our organization?
  • What would you improve about or add to your membership experience?
  • Why did you initially join the organization?
  • How long have you been a member?
  • How often do you read our newsletter, visit our website, etc?
  • Rate each of our benefits/programs on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most valuable and 1 being least valuable.
  • What types of information and resources do you seek to stay on top of industry trends?
  • How likely are you to refer a friend to join?
  • Which of these words do you associate with our organization? (list several words, ie. Advocate, knowledge leader, innovator)
  • How satisfied are you with our level of service?
  • What is your preferred source for industry information? (magazines, websites, etc)