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6 Tips to Run an Effective Member Survey

Membership Amanda Cuerbo

Running a member survey is one of the most effective ways of getting the assessments and answers your association needs.

Getting to know your members and furthering your understanding on what they value and need from their membership is an essential part of maintaining any association. According to Folio Magazine, surveying is important for associations today because it is the “most reliable” source for feedback from your members.  

So, the goal is simple: ask the questions and hope for some helpful answers in return. But the solution to achieving this goal isn’t as simple as running a basic survey. Associations commonly make the mistake of releasing under-developed surveys to their members. More often than not, these surveys go ignored by members or are answered inaccurately.

Today, association membership and marketing professionals have more power to collect data than ever before, but for real success a true strategy must be followed.

By following these six tips for effectively running a member survey, your association can produce a survey that is engaging and truly beneficial for getting the answers you need.


1. Explain why

Explaining to your members why you are conducting a survey makes them understand the purpose behind it, as well as the purpose in them participating.

Members want to feel like you care about them and their needs. By taking the time to explain the purpose behind the survey, you are establishing that you care about their opinions and don’t just want to waste their time. Otherwise, they will see the survey as just something tedious tossed their way


2. Ask the right questions

There should be a purpose behind every question you ask. Having direct, effective questions will make the member survey process much easier for members. This ultimately encourages them to complete the entire survey, as well as surveys in the future.  

Here’s an example of how to ask an effective question:


In this example, the surveyor avoids vague language or over complicating what they want to know. They clearly explain how they want the question answered and offer a variety of answers. You should follow these practices in your survey as well.

The point of what you’re asking your members should be clear. With a clear question, you should expect more accurate and helpful answers in return.


3. Make surveys interactive

Having a light, interactive survey is the best way to engage members.

According to Question Pro’s survey analytics, interactive surveying has a 30% greater success rate than traditional surveying. Using interactive styles of surveying makes people overall more interested in the survey. The more interest they have in the survey, the more likely they are to complete it accurately and in a timely fashion.

Typeform, a web-based platform for collecting and sharing information, developed a great example of interactive surveying. Their surveying technology allows you to personalize each question, as well as make questions interactive and visually appealing. This provides the surveyor with a much more engaging experience. And the more you capture your audience’s attention, the more likely they are to complete a survey.

According to A Medium Cooperation, a company using Typeform’s surveying technology received a survey completion rate of 55% over a 65 question long survey. Their success was all due to the highly interactive nature of the survey. Check out this video from Typeform to get a better picture of what an interactive survey looks like.


4. Using survey timing to your advantage

The timing of when you push your survey out to members is another important aspect to consider. The trick to strategizing good survey timing is remembering who you are surveying.

Most professionals follow a 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday schedule. This means that weekends are pretty much out of the question when running your survey, since it will most likely be ignored or pushed off to another day and thus forgotten.

According to Flow, a task-management software company, professionals are most active at work during these days. This means they are far less likely to ignore the survey.

Here is a graph showing weekly work productivity from over 37,000 Flow users:


In this graph, you can clearly see how professionals are most active on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These days are therefore your best bet for getting member survey responses.

Another aspect to consider is the time of day the survey is pushed so that it reaches the maximum amount of people at a convenient time for them.

Research shows that the best time of day to send out a survey invitation is either in the morning or late afternoon. Mid-day survey invitations could interfere with a professional’s work obligations and therefore should be avoided.


5. Have mixed-mode channels of surveys

Having mixed-mode channels for running your survey is very important today. Typically, surveys are pushed through e-mail or over the phone. Society is more digital than ever today, which provides potential for your survey to reach a much larger audience by using digital channels. These channels should include websites, social media, and mobile.

According to a statistic found by Associations Now, about 64% of American adults own and actively use a smartphone. And, if you are trying to reach your younger members with your survey, this statistic is even higher. This means that a mobile survey is one of the best ways to reach a large audience.


6. Analyze and act on survey results

Analyzing your member survey results is an extremely important step of the surveying process that should not be neglected.

By analyzing your results, you can better understand who you are surveying. This allows you to see things your members truly value and want through their membership in the association. With this knowledge, you are going to be much more successful in tending to their needs.

Not only this, but by thoroughly analyzing your results you can get a good idea on what channels of surveying worked best.

Here is an example of Typeform’s survey analysis breakdown they provide:  


This breakdown shows the total number of responses on the survey, overall completion rate, as well as the channels that received the most hits for this survey. By having this data, you will understand what to do differently and therefore be better equipped to have more success on your next member survey.  


By following these six tips for effectively running a survey, your association could see improvements in both the overall surveying experience as well as the outcome of the survey.

These surveying tips make the goal of better understanding your members more attainable. And, by better knowing what your members value and need from your association after your survey, you are going to ultimately be able to better provide for them.


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