Trillium Member Satisfaction Survey: Diving into the Numbers – Part 2 Gerald Bramm, President of Bramm Research

In the previous edition of Forum we looked at highlights from our 2013 Trillium member survey. Specifically we focused on feedback from executive members in three key areas: how we communicate with members, educational programming and professional development events. In Part 2 we’re looking at other areas of feedback from our executive members as well as highlights from our business members. 

As a reminder, we undertook an online member survey in the early summer of 2013. And again, we want to thank all those members who responded to our survey. We are grateful for your ideas and observations. All recommendations are being discussed, considered or are already in the works.

Challenges Faced By Our Executive Members
After we had asked executive members to evaluate various chapter services and programs we asked several key concluding questions including the dominant challenges that they face within their association or organization. If we understand these challenges and help our members meet them, it is reasonable to assume that we will strengthen member value.

As a way of assessing these challenges we gave respondents a list of ten possible options to choose from and asked them to select their top three challenges. Once they had identified a challenge, we asked them to describe this particular challenge in detail.

The top challenges that were identified revolved around the issues of membership, finance and human resources.

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With respect to membership, the following key themes emerged: the challenge of demonstrating measurable value, dealing with a declining membership coupled with engaging and retaining new members, the challenges of an aging membership, and difficulties in attracting Gen X and Gen Y members.

In terms of financial challenges, executive members told us that they faced difficulties managing with declining revenues, finding sustainable revenue sources and overcoming resistance to any increases in membership fees.

Key themes around HR challenges from executive members include losing long-serving staff due to retirement as well as multi-generational differences making staff integration and retention a challenge.

Most Important Services Offered by The Trillium Chapter
As mentioned, we believe that if we understand the challenges experienced by our members, we can use our services and programs to help members address those challenges.

We asked executive members to tell us what they thought are the three most important services or programs offered by the Trillium Chapter.

By a considerable margin, 84% of executive members place education in their top three.  The other two most frequently mentioned items included: networking (59%) and the Summer Summit conference (36%).

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As noted in the previous section, our executive members are challenged by demographic change and generational differences. As an example of addressing this challenge, a PDX event was held in March entitled: Building Membership Engagement with quest presenter Greg Witz. In a well-received presentation, Greg took attendees through a lively and enlightening tour of the generations and helped us understand the challenges of attracting and retaining Gen X and Gen Y members.

Business Members
As with our executive members, we asked business members a series of questions related to demographics, event attendance and evaluations of services and programs.

From a demographic standpoint we note the following interesting difference between executive and business member demographics.  While one-quarter of executive members are under 45 years of age, almost twice as many business members fall into this age range. This introduces some interesting challenges when it comes to networking.

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Summer/Winter Summits and Professional Development Events
In our previous article we noted that slightly more than one-third of executive members have attended either a winter or summer summit in the past three years. In the case of business members, almost two-thirds have attended a summit at least once in the past three years and we have a core group of almost one-third of business members who have attended all three of the last three summer summits.

Sixty-four percent of business members have attended at least one PDX event over the past 12 months. This is slightly higher than the 57% of executive members who have attended at least one event in this time period.  Forty-two percent have attended three or more events in this time period.

Most Important Services Offered by The Trillium Chapter
We also asked business members to indicate the top three services offered by the Trillium Chapter. Not surprisingly, business members place networking at the top of their list followed by the summer summit and educational opportunities. This highlights an interesting balancing act for business members who see networking as being the greatest value of their membership versus executive members who are most inclined to value educational opportunities. 

In the coming months we will continue to extract value from our member survey. As well, it will serve as benchmark that can be used to measure and evaluate future initiatives. 

Gerald Bramm is the President of Bramm Research. He is a member of the Trillium Chapter and conducts research on their behalf. His areas of interest include member engagement surveys and the creation of knowledge products on behalf of associations. For more information you may reach Gerald at 905-465-3578, email at [email protected]ch.com or on the web at www.brammresearch.com