Member research is a great way to make informed and strategic decisions. When done effectively, it provides deeper insight into your member, stakeholders, and their reasons for engaging with your association.
Who are your members?
Understanding your member universe allows you to develop the most comprehensive strategy for maintaining and growing your engagement and membership. Research can support and grow your membership strategy by enabling you to understand better your members’ motivations, intentions, and behaviors. Such information is invaluable for strategic planning and maintaining a thriving organization.
Use member research to answer and address key areas in your organization:
1. Membership Personas: Discover more about who your members or donors are.
- What are their pain points?
- How do your members’ job responsibilities, tenure, professional accomplishments, and goals differ?
- Why do they choose to support your organization?
- What matters most to them?
- Are members satisfied with the current benefits?
2. Communication Efforts: Member research allows you to learn how and why your members differ. If you know this information, you can better segment your audience so that members only receive communication from your organization when it’s pertinent to their needs or interests.
For example, custom individualized email messaging will result in higher open rates and increased engagement.
3. Strategic Brand Development: Perception is reality. If you understand more about how your members perceive your organization, you can correct or capitalize on those perceptions.
For example, learn how your members view your organization compared to others in your niche. This information could help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your existing branding or marketing efforts.
4. Cultivate and Refine Membership Offering: Evaluate whether you offer your members the right mix of products and services. Could new offerings expand your appeal and, therefore, your member base?
Understanding what your members and non-members value from your association while identifying unmet needs will allow you to focus on the most valuable products and services.
Tips for Success
Once you’ve established your objectives for your member research, begin evaluating how your organization will execute the research process.
- Decide who will conduct your research. Some organizations conduct the research internally with staff and other in-house resources. However, hiring a third-party consulting firm to collect research on their behalf is usually most beneficial for many nonprofits.
- Decide how you will execute your research. Nonprofits gather data through various efforts, including surveys and focus groups.
- Modernize your data. Download this association trends guide aims to help association executives harness modern data programs and effective presentation strategies to provide the critical insights their members increasingly rely on.
Get the Benefits of Member Research at Vault
Conducting member research is a great way to make your organization thrive. However, that’s only the beginning. We tailor our research services to help your nonprofit meet its goals and provide the tools you need to translate data into actionable information.
If your nonprofit requires professional research services, contact us for more information about our research services today.