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Why Your Organization Needs a Member Satisfaction Survey + 20 Questions

Author: Tatiana Morand
May 5, 2020
🕑 7 min read

Malik looked around the half-empty school library in disappointment. As he thought back over the last few months, he couldn’t ignore it — participation in the Parent Teacher Association was way down. Where was everybody?

He asked his fellow board members if they’d noticed the decline. They had, but no one had any real idea what was going on. They were keeping meetings short and to the point. The membership had chosen the service projects themselves, so it seemed safe to assume they found them interesting. But people weren’t coming to meetings. Why?

While Malik was pondering the PTA, Gabi was experiencing a slightly different problem with the members of her local knitting guild. New members enthusiastically joined every year, but they never seemed to stay longer than 18 months. Somewhere around a year and a half, they just dropped off, but she wasn’t sure why.

Malik and Gabi had different problems, but they came to the same solution: conducting a member satisfaction survey.

What is a Membership Satisfaction Survey, and Why Do You Need One?

A membership satisfaction survey is a simple tool for checking in with your membership and seeing what is important to them. It’s a chance to address issues and encourage long-term membership and regular renewals.

You can ask members to provide feedback, answer specific questions, to describe their feelings on a scale, or provide open space for them to share their thoughts. The questions should focus on the member’s experience, and give them the opportunity to offer feedback on the workings of the organization.

Some of the subjects your membership satisfaction survey could cover include:

  • Benefits of membership
  • General satisfaction
  • Meeting times, frequency, and duration
  • Barriers to participation
  • Ideas for improvements
  • Topics of most and least interest

If you’d just like a membership satisfaction survey template, click here.

Malik decided to send his member satisfaction survey to all the PTA members through his members’ only website. His survey focused on general satisfaction and barriers to participation. He also included an open space for comments not covered by the survey questions.

Gabi was curious about the 18-month drop-off in member retention, so she decided to separately survey two segments of members — long-term and those who’d been members for one year. She focused on the benefits of membership, ideas for improvement, and topics that were most interesting to members.

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5 Tips for Creating an Effective Member Survey:

Here are 5 tips to help ensure your online survey is effective in capturing the information you need:

1. Set clear objectives.

What are you trying to learn? What metrics do you need to help you achieve your goals? You might want to work backwards – first think about what results you want, then determine the questions you need to ask. I’ve learned the hard way to consider how you’ll apply the data before you craft the questions.

2. Keep it short and simple.

You’ll probably get a better response to a brief survey, simply because it will be less time consuming.  It’s also important to ask concise questions with well formulated answers. Giving participants specific choices (e.g., yes, no, rating scale, multiple choice) make the questions easier to answer and simplifies analysis as well.

Plus, don’t forget to include an explanation as to why you are conducting the survey as well as a thank-you at the end of the survey. That little bit of appreciation can help members feel like their contribution is valued!

3. Test it and time it right.

Once you’ve drafted the survey, test it out on a small group of members, such as your Board or members you know are most engaged. Get their feedback and take a look at the type of results you receive to be sure your format is effective.

In terms of timing, research suggests that you’ll get the best response on Monday, Friday and Sunday – so these might be the best days to send your invitations or post the survey.

4. Promote it.

Promotion is key if you want to achieve a high response rate to gain a true representation of your members’ viewpoints. There are a number of ways you can promote your online survey, including:

  • Posting on your website
  • Personalized emails
  • Posting on Facebook
  • Write a blog post or forum post with the link and timelines
  • Including a note and the link in your e-newsletter

5. Share the results.

While you are conducting the online survey to meet your own objectives, it’s also important to share the results with the participants and your membership in general. It offers an opportunity to thank those who participated and to leverage the results for additional member content.

Ready to put your survey together? Check our our sample questions to get started.


20 Questions for Your Membership Satisfaction Survey

1. How satisfied are you with your membership?

2. How likely are you to renew your membership?

3. How often do you participate in club activities? 

4. How often do you read our newsletter?

5. How well does our club do including new members in activities?

6. What was your favorite club activity this year?

7. Are there any activities you hope we won’t do again? If yes, which ones? 

8. Do you have a suggestion for a new activity? Tell us here!

9. How can we improve our club meetings?

10. How long have you been a member?

11. Would you recommend our club to others?

12. Do you follow our club on social media? If so, which platforms? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

13. What do you think is the best membership benefit we offer?

14. What would make your membership more valuable to you?

15. How does the cost of your membership compare to the value you get from it?

16. What do you think is important for the club’s leaders to know?

17. Are you satisfied with the frequency of communication from the club?

18. How often do you visit the club website?

19. Which of our topics is most interesting to you right now?

20. Would you like to share additional thoughts with us?

Want these questions in a Google Form? Click here to easily download your own membership survey.

And if you’re a WildApricot customer, you can run surveys like this directly within the WildApricot platform.

wildapricot polls

Click here to learn more about how surveys and polls work in WildApricot!

Two Customer Satisfaction Survey Examples You Can Borrow From

The for-profit realm has mastered the satisfaction survey. Nonprofits, clubs, and associations can learn a lot from them. Consider these two examples from two major brands, Uber and Skype.

1. Uber

Uber prioritizes customer satisfaction by asking users to rate their service after every ride. Using a simple star system, customers can quickly describe their satisfaction with a couple clicks, with the option to add more detail.

Uber 1

Where Uber takes it farther is by following up on less-than-five-star ratings. Customers who aren’t satisfied are asked to specifically describe their issues, giving Uber more information in a simple way.

Uber 2

The added text description, “Ok, but had an issue” ensures that a four-star rating means the same thing to everyone. By offering specific options for the issues, Uber streamlines communication to make it easier to find the problem.

Takeaways: Use words to clarify your number scale. Follow-up immediately on negative feedback.


2. Skype Support

Like Uber, Skype asks you to rate every call. They also offer a survey on their website to give feedback on satisfaction with their support system. They ask two powerful questions, one using a rating scale and the other open-ended: How would you rate your experience using the Skype Support website? What can we improve to make it better?

The combination of questions nets a lot of information in a simple way. It allows users to express how satisfied they are (emotional content), and then give their solutions. This gives Skype a clear picture of how the customer feels, and what they want to happen.

They also give the option to be anonymous (which is also an option in the WildApricot polls functionality). This can be useful for companies and nonprofits as well. Consider if your members would be more forthcoming about their satisfaction if they didn’t have to put their name to their comments.


Takeaways: Short and simple can still yield a lot of information. Use a variety of question styles. Consider keeping your survey anonymous.

Higher Member Satisfaction

When Malik surveyed his survey results, he was surprised.

Most of the respondents were highly satisfied with their membership… but almost half of them cited difficulties attending meetings on Wednesday evenings.

It turned out that both the local youth soccer league and two major religious institutions in town had programming on Wednesdays. People weren’t coming to meetings because they were taking their kids to practice and religious education classes. Malik moved the next month’s meeting to Monday, and attendance shot up.

Gabi’s survey results were interesting, too. She found that the one-year members valued learning new things, building their skills, and meeting new people. The long-term members valued mentoring new knitters and sharing their knowledge.

With this information, she considered her programs anew and discovered that there wasn’t much programming for intermediate knitters — those who weren’t interested or prepared to mentor someone else, but were beyond beginners. New members were essentially “aging out” of finding the guild useful.

Gabi created another survey to send at members’ one-year anniversary, asking what they were hoping to learn in the next year. She started adding some of those topics to the guild’s programs, to encourage people to make it through their second year of membership.

A member satisfaction survey can give you a lot of information about your members, helping you improve their experience and encourage their participation.

To learn more about creating surveys, check out how you can do so in WildApricot, or copy our membership satisfaction template here.

Read More: How to Host a Virtual Member Appreciation Week in 5 Simple Steps

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