Member Feedback is Essential for Associations

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February 23, 2023

If you want your organization to grow and thrive over time, you need members who are passionate about what your organization does for them. Think about it. Every member is a brand ambassador for your association. The positive experiences of members can help bring in new members and support the work that you do as an organization. Feedback is a fundamental part of any association's organizational process, as it helps you understand what works well and what doesn’t.

Consistent encouragement to provide feedback and taking it into practice within your organization will show loyalty to your members. The key thing is to listen carefully, pay close attention, and let your members know how you’ll use their feedback internally.

How do you collect feedback?

Allowing open communication between your association and members through different avenues allows your members to feel valued, heard, and increases engagement and retention. When looking at avenues to collect this information, consider using the following:

  1. Surveys: Dealers choice when it comes to the platform you prefer when conducting surveys but know that it’s an easy and simple way to get feedback from your members. Make sure to create questions that are to the point and easy to follow. It’s been said that shorter lists will have higher completion rates, so be strategic when building your initial list of recipients.
  2. Phone calls: May seem outdated, but a simple phone call to your members can go a long way. Consider this avenue when you have a member leave. Reach out to them personally and ask for feedback as to why they’re leaving, what the organization could improve on, etc. Pro tip: Don’t make these calls out of the blue; schedule ahead of time!
  3. Email newsletters: You’re most likely already sending out a newsletter to members about the latest industry news and association updates, so why limit it too just that? Create personalization within the newsletter and create different opportunities for your audience to supply feedback. There really are no limits when it comes to this avenue, you just need to get creative.
  4. Catfish: You can create a pop-up survey on your associations website to stay top of mind with anyone who visits the site. It’s quick and straightforward. You can also create a trigger to create a programmatic campaign to serve corresponding ads on third-party websites after the visitor has left your site.

Once you have the insight from the avenues of collecting data, make sure to really go through everything and know the areas where your organization can improve. Align all feedback with your value, mission, and strategic plans.

When should you collect feedback?

You don’t want to inundate your members with constant surveys and questions, but it should be made a priority within your association. Here are important times where you should be asking for feedback.

  1. Halfway through a new membership: Whenever a new member joins, you’ll be the most active with the onboarding process. That said, consider asking for feedback around the 6-month mark to check in and see how things are going, what benefits they’ve taken advantage of, and what they’re liking the most – and least – so far with the organization.
  2. After an event: A lot of time, effort, and money goes into your events, so you’ll want to make sure that they’re valuable to your members. No matter what size, consider asking attendees what went well, what were some pain points, and what they’d like to see in future events.
  3. When a member doesn’t renew: Hopefully this won’t be the case if you’re continuously engaging with your members, but there’s no guarantee. If you lose memberships, consider it a learning opportunity for your organization. Get in touch with them and find out the real reasons why they didn’t renew, so that you can tweak whatever is necessary internally. With asking these questions to everyone who leaves, you’ll be able to see patterns of why retention doesn’t continue.

Frequency shouldn’t be a huge ordeal when it comes to members providing feedback, but there are some scenarios where it’s key to make sure you get insight.

Remember that your members are the brand ambassadors for your association. If there’s not an outlet for them to provide feedback and help grow your organization directly with you, they’re going to provide the information elsewhere. Don’t underestimate any insight regarding the organization, products, or services, and always be responsive. Your members will appreciate you valuing their opinion; it will help create an excellent experience and keep members coming back.

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