Monday, October 13, 2014

The Importance of Sharing Survey Results

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Like a lot of associations, mine is in the habit of surveying our members. We do a fair number of small, ad hoc surveys, but we also put a lot of time and energy into a biennial satisfaction survey. It gives us a wealth of information about what responders think about our strategic direction and our programs and services.

One of the things I insist on is sharing the results of this satisfaction survey with our membership. I do this for a few reasons.

1. They deserve it. They took time out of their busy day to complete the survey instrument we sent them. If they're engaged enough to do that, they're almost certainly engaged enough to be interested in the results.

2. It helps increase future response rates. How many times have you filled out a survey for one of the associations you belong to, and the results of that survey or what the association plans to do with them remains forever a mystery? How motivated are you to fill out the next survey? Why would your members be any different?

3. It provides cover for ending programs. This may be one of the best benefits of data sharing there is. If you're asking how important your programs are to your membership, programs with low importance scores should seriously be considered for sunsetting. And by sharing those scores publicly, it creates an environment where debate and dissent based on individual preference has less sway.

What other good reasons are there for sharing your survey data with your members?

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This post was written by Eric Lanke, an association executive, blogger and author. For more information, visit, follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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