Association Executives are finding new ways to start where they are today – and continue to get better:
…Better when they understand what members care about.
…Better by listening to feedback without judgement.
…Better when they commit to seeing things for what they are.
…Better at delivering unique member value.
Twelve Association Executives from across the country, with membership sizes 290 to 6,300 spent the COVID pause taking a first step to confirm what they know, and uncover new opportunity for action.
During the most abnormal of business environments, they each deployed a short, ten-question survey to their members to learn more about what they value. On a typical day, and even during a crisis.
It is normal that survey response rates vary by association. This was no different. The response rate varied from a low of 2% to a high of 39%. As a collective group, with a margin of error at 1.99%, we can make observations of the group as a whole with a confidence level of 95%.
Along with a bevy of write-in comments and ideas, the research uncovered four key findings.
Across associations, members value credible industry information and activities and efforts to protect the industry most. A close third is required continuing education.
Products for purchase, career development and what we used to call ‘networking’ are far less important to members who participated in this study. While an association may offer these ‘member benefits’, associations are wise not to disproportionately promote them.
We mentioned earlier that associations ranged from membership of 290 to 6,300. Below is the range of members who answer “I am very satisfied with the overall value of membership”.
Very satisfied ratings are the most critical group to pay attention to. Growing this segment of members is proven to create a more loyal membership. When promise meets performance you’re likely to have members who are very satisfied with their return on investment.
Many industries never reach a Net Promoter Score (NPS) higher than 20. The average NPS in the association industry is 21, a measurement calculated by weighing the number of promoters versus the detractors in the responses. All 12 associations reported NPS scores of well above 21. In other words this group has considerably more members who will recommend the association than the association industry average.* There are many underlying factors to members being either promoters or detractors, so this score alone represents a moment in time perspective. The real value in measuring NPS comes with repetition, to see how that number changes over time.
Not unexpected is the correlation between NPS and overall satisfaction. The more satisfied members are with the value of membership, the more likely they will be to recommend the association (as you can see below with both results scores on the same chart).
* The Health of Associations in the 21st Century, Patrick Glaser, Vice President of Research and Analytics, McKinley Advisors, 2017.
This might be the most courageous question of all. The answer is your starting point to gauge how members assess the value that you promise them. Notice that the size of associations is neither predictable, nor consistent with the response. It is just as likely that a larger association’s members see a ROI than a smaller one. So more than any other finding, this score is only for reference. We hope you’ll feel good that you asked the question and now know where you’re starting from.
If you ask this question, be prepared to ask it again. It’s only by seeing a change in perception that you can take forward steps and strengthen your promise of value.
So what does all this mean?
The concept of value today is more important than ever. And uncovering your value during a time of a virus – or a crisis – makes it a more relevant challenge to take on.
Member research is most valuable as a year to year comparison. Every year. Associations who conduct research every year and document year-to-year changes have a pulse on members’ priorities and their own performance.
If you are ready to discover your unique, one-of-a-kind value proposition, so that you can move the value scale for your members, visit breakthroughvalue.org for more information.