Crucial Advice on the Best Tools

Crucial Advice on the Best Tools and Tricks for Surveying Your Association’s Members

When you’re looking to get feedback, gather suggestions, and track key trends when it comes to dissimilar opinions from your association’s members, surveys have proven to be a time-tested, invaluable tool.

The typical workflow is that you draft a survey and release it, but of course – “if you build it” does not necessarily mean “they will come.” So, this often leads to disappointment when no one responds to the survey request. If you’re unsure what went wrong, this guide might help you.

We’re highlighting some of the best tips and strategies to build an effective survey that drives participation and provides the insight you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

1. Get to the Point

Nothing chases people away from a survey faster than questions that drag on and eat up their time.

Time is a sensitive resource for just about everyone, and for individuals to spend more than necessary on a survey they’re not obliged to answer in the first place is just asking for people to ignore it.

Questions should be as short as possible while getting your message across. This applies to both the length of each question and the number of questions in the survey.

2. Centralize Your Goals

If your survey questions are all over the place, don’t expect actionable insight. Including irrelevant questions or addressing too many aspects at once can dilute the valuable information you gather.

You need to start building your survey with the end goal in mind to achieve focused and actionable results.

3. Harness the Power of Samples

A test drive for your survey can be beneficial in gauging the response of a larger audience. 

You can make tweaks based on the feedback of the test sample then have them take the survey again to compare the results.

4. Tailor Your Questions for Efficiency

The type of questions you include in the survey can make or break its effectiveness. 

The rule of thumb here is “the simpler, the better”. If you can avoid open-ended questions, then always try to do so. Questions featuring choices, check boxes, and rating scales work best for gathering information in the shortest amount of time.

If you can’t help adding open-ended questions, try to phrase them in a way that prompts answers in the form of ideas. For example, lead your questions with definitive inquires like “What topics…”, “What challenges…”, and “What skills…”.

5. Pay Attention to the Tone

Watch your choice of words when building your survey questions to make sure you receive feedback in the desired context. 

For instance, if you’re looking for suggestions to boost membership, use “What led you to join…” instead of “Why did you sign up…”

6. Offer Smart Incentives

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and your members are no exception. If you want to take a chunk of their time, they’ll be more willing to give it to you if you offer something in return.

Incentives work great in encouraging member participation, but smart incentives work even better.

For example, instead of providing low-value coupons to all participants, try more lucrative promotions but reserve them for a certain number of first respondents.

Also, use incentives relevant to your members’ interests and needs for better results.

Final Thoughts

As you apply the tips above, don’t overlook using a survey tool that both you and your members can easily use. SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are great options and typically offer the simplest solutions without the elaborate bells and whistles that come with other software solutions.