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3 Mistakes Your Association May Be Making with Its Member Surveys

Member surveys should be at the core of every association’s member engagement and satisfaction strategy. But could you be doing more harm than good with your surveys?

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Member surveys should be at the core of every association’s member engagement and satisfaction strategy. But could you be doing more harm than good with your surveys? Allow us to start off by asking the question that might be on your mind: Why member surveys? What’s so important about them, and why are they important to have?

If you aren’t aware of the impact a good member survey can have on the way you manage and interact with members, you’re missing out on a lot of value. According to Folio Magazine, surveying is important for associations today because it is the “most reliable” source for feedback from your members. It’s a way to connect and communicate with members that allows them to voice their opinions without feeling an immense pressure to please your association’s staff. They’re allowed to say what’s on their mind in an organized fashion, through surveys that your association can collect and keep track of in order to make sure members stay happy with your services.

While surveys have the power to create amazing feedback and engagement for your association, if not done properly they can also damage the relationship you have with members, becoming counterproductive in nature. So, what can you do to make sure your surveys are getting the job done and that members feel comfortable answering and allowing you to get inside their minds?

Let’s go over 3 mistakes your association may be making in its surveys, as well as how to correct those mistakes and prevent them from happening in the future. Don’t let your member surveys fall short with our tips and tricks!

1. Your questions aren’t specific

If your association’s member survey is a host for broad questions, you could be limiting yourself to specific answers that can help you collect data and plan for future success. While you may think it best to leave your survey questions broad to allow for a variety of answers, generic questions won’t help you get down to the bottom of how specific areas of your association and its member benefits are performing.

Asking broad questions like, “How are we doing?” Only cover an overall sense of your association’s performance rather than getting down to the brass tax of each specific section of your association. So, instead of leaving the door wide open with your questions, consider breaking your survey down into more specific sections. You can create a section for event questions, member benefit questions, or anything else you’d like more information on.

2. Your questions are open for interpretation

Maybe the problem isn’t so much that your questions are too broad, but that the wording of the questions leave them open to interpretation. Words can be interpreted a number of ways by your members, which can negatively affect the way you collect data. While you want your members to speak their minds and give you their feedback and opinions, you want to be sure they’re understanding the question and giving feedback on the topic of your choice.

If you’re having trouble getting the answers you need from members, you may want to reevaluate the way you’ve written your questions. You can go through your member survey and analyze your questions, try answering them yourself, or have someone on your association’s team who hasn’t had apart in creating the survey give it a try. If you or someone else becomes confused by a question, it may be in your best interest to rework it into something better understood.

Or, you can switch the format of your question. Is a question confusing because it’s answered through multiple choice? Would it be better suited to have respondents answer through a short answer? If this is the case, consider switching the format of your question altogether.

3. You aren’t using the right tools

How does your association put together and host its surveys? If you aren’t exactly sure of the best survey tools available, you may be making things harder than need be. Members want to take a survey that is quick, easy, and user-friendly. If your survey isn’t well organized, isn’t easy to load, or is hosted on a confusing platform, it could affect the number of responses you receive.

Consider switching up the way you create surveys by using helpful, free or no-cost online tools. Services like SurveyMonkey, Survey GIzmo, Qualtrics, and others can give you the support and guidance you need to make your association’s surveys a hit with members. These tools no only help you with the survey creation process, they host your survey on an easy to use site, and some even help you round up survey metrics in the end.

Don’t let the tools you use hinder your survey results. Do your research, and use tools that make surveys easy to create and respond to. Your association’s surveys can go a long way with members if you use the right tactics to put them together. Avoid these 3 mistakes by using our tips, and you can be sure your surveys will get you the feedback you’ve been looking for.