Negative feedback isn’t anyone’s favorite thing, but it’s a necessary evil to go through in order to grow. Same goes for our organizations! After all, if something is causing member satisfaction to go down, wouldn’t you want to know?
When a member decides to leave your organization, ask for their help just one last time, and have them complete an Association Exit Survey. Here are some questions to consider asking, and the takeaways you can learn from their answers:
1. Why did you decide not to renew your membership?
Of course you’ll want to ask this - but the answer could surprise you! Was their decision based on one single thing, or are there a number of reasons? Or perhaps you already made a guess, and that wasn’t it at all.
2. When did you decide not to renew your membership?
Asking this question will give you some insight into how well you’re engaging people in various stages of membership, and where you may be losing them along the way. Find where there’s room to strengthen these weak points on the member journey.
3. What would have made your membership more beneficial?
Now you can start getting into the specifics. You probably won’t jump to make a change just based on one former member’s opinion, but maybe after a few surveys are conducted you’ll start to see some patterns that you should consider.
4. What did you gain from your membership?
SURELY it wasn’t all bad, right? Find out what they enjoyed and look for patterns here, too. Capitalize on what you are doing right. Do more of what people enjoy, and promote those events or programs more to your existing members (as it makes sense).
5. Did you feel comfortable approaching members of the leadership team? Why or why not?
My guess is if you didn’t see their exit coming, probably not. Use these answers to inform your “Contact Us” strategy, and consider options for allowing members to submit feedback to you anonymously (if you don’t already).
6. How would you describe the overall culture of the organization?
Are you being perceived how you want to be, even by your own members? It can be eye-opening and refreshing to hear these opinions, especially when they turn out not to be in line with your goals.
7. Would you recommend us to friends and colleagues?
So maybe being a member didn’t work out for them, personally – but what about their other connections? If the answer is yes, ask them for a few names before you lose contact! Who knows, maybe their friends joining would cause them to re-join. Which brings me to my final point…
8. What would encourage you to re-join?
Make sure they know that they’re always welcome back, no matter their answers! Keep a running list of former members, their contact information (with a note of their answer to this question) so you can try to re-engage them every once in a while.
As members move on, learning about their reasons for leaving will only help you strengthen your member retention efforts. That way, hopefully, you’ll start administering less and less member exit surveys! For a whole host of guidance on refreshing your retention efforts, take a look at our Membership Retention Kit: Best practices (and communication templates) to get your members to STAY.