How often does your association ask members for feedback? Once a year? Twice a year? Never? It could be one of those things where you mean to ask for feedback, but then you just get busy. Or maybe you do ask for feedback, but you never really make changes based on that feedback. (The responses are too varied and you don’t know where to begin.)
Either way, it’s important that you make feedback a priority because feedback is the gateway to improvement (and that’s how you recruit, engage, and retain more members).
Now one of the best (and easiest) ways to obtain feedback is through surveys, preferably via email since you have your members’ email addresses. (But note: You can post those same surveys on your member landing pages as well - to boost visibility and participation.)
All that said...when should you survey your organization’s membership? Well, there are three pivotal points:
1. Six months after a new member joins
When a new member joins, you want to spend some time onboarding them - letting them know what opportunities you have available, putting them in contact with other members/leaders, inviting them to upcoming meetings and events, etc.
But at some point, that new member isn’t so new anymore, and you have to shift your thinking from ‘onboarding’ to ‘retention.’ That’s why we recommend conducting a survey at the six-month mark. Check in with your new members to see how things are going: what benefits they’ve taken advantage of, what events they’ve attended, etc. This is your chance to engage with those members and get the feedback that’s needed to retain them.
Here are a few questions to consider asking your new members:
- What meetings or events have you attended since joining organization XYZ?
- What do you like the most - so far - about being a member of organization XYZ?
- What do you like the least?
- How often do you login to your member portal?
- How likely are you to renew your membership in the following year?
- How likely are you to recommend organization XYZ to a friend or colleague?
2. After a meeting or event
You put a lot of time (and money!) into your organization’s events, so you want to make sure they’re successful. Not just for the sake of attendance, but again, for retention. Events add value and value is what gets people to renew.
After a meeting or event (both big and small, in-person and online), survey your membership (or at least those who attended). Ask them what went well, what didn’t, and what they’d like to see in the future.
Here are a few questions to consider asking your event attendees:
- Overall, how would you rate the event (on a scale of 1 - 10)?
- What did you like most about the event?
- What did you like least about the event?
- Based on your experience at this event, how likely are you to attend future events?
3. When a member decides to leave your organization
Now hopefully, if you do #1 and #2 well, most of your members will continue to renew. But there will always be some who don’t, and rather than viewing that as a loss or failure of some sort, view it as a learning opportunity. Survey the members that don’t renew and find out the real reason(s) why. If you can pinpoint what those reasons are, you can then make changes to ensure your existing members don’t leave for the same reasons.
Here are a few questions to consider asking your lapsed members…
- What brought you to our organization initially?
- What groups/activities were you involved in?
- What is your main reason for leaving?
- Are there any other reasons for your leaving?
As you’ve probably realized, all of these go back to one very important goal: membership retention. The happier you can make your members - and the more value you can add - the more likely they are to renew their membership.
Want more tips for boosting membership renewals and retention? Check out our free membership retention guide below!