Tips for improving member loyalty using member satisfaction surveys

Sending member satisfaction surveys shows members you’re listening and gives you valuable input on how to improve the member experience.   

Here are some tips on who to ask, what to ask, and how to use the feedback you gather. 


By Christine Bergeron, Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands



You work hard to attract new members to your association. The last thing you want is for them to walk away when it’s time for them to renew their membership. 

One powerful way to ensure your members stay engaged and stick around is to send member satisfaction surveys.  

Taking the time to reach out to members for their thoughts shows them you’re listening. It also helps to ensure your association relies on meaningful input – rather than on guesses or unsolicited opinions from a handful of members – to gauge your members’ satisfaction with your organization. And it gives you valuable input to help you better engage with members, provide them with a better experience, and generally boost member loyalty. 

Which members to survey and what to ask
You could just send a periodic member survey to all of your members, asking them a few questions about how satisfied they are with their membership. That’s a basic way to get high level feedback about how satisfied they are with their membership. 

But consider segmenting your member list so you can send more targeted surveys and gain deeper insights.  

TIP: YourMembership AMS by Community Brands has survey functionality built in, making it easy to build and send targeted surveys and get feedback. 

Here are four groups of members and some suggested questions to ask: 

New members – You might not think about new members when you think about member loyalty and member retention. But keep in mind that your members’ entire experience with your organization sways their decisions to renew (or not!).

Around 60 to 90 days after you’ve onboarded new members, send them a short survey to ask things like:

  • How do you rate your experience so far?
  • What have you found most helpful in your first months with the organization?
  • What would make your member experience even better?

Volunteers – A great way to get more members more involved through volunteering, and to retain volunteers, is to get to know your volunteers better. Understanding their experience better helps you provide more personalized and relevant opportunities and a better overall volunteer experience.

Send your volunteers a questionnaire that asks them about their recent volunteer experience with your association. Ideally, send the survey shortly after they volunteer to get their thoughts while the experience is still fresh in their minds.

Some questions to ask:

  • What is the association doing well with the volunteer program? (You might prompt them to provide feedback about their entire volunteer experience – from sign-up and orientation to training and support.)
  • What were the most challenging aspects of volunteering?
  • What type of volunteer opportunity would you like to do, but have never been asked?
  • Would you recommend volunteering to a friend?

Members – One of the best ways to determine member satisfaction is to get input directly from members. At least once within each year of a member’s membership, send a survey to determine their satisfaction with their membership. Some things to ask:

  • How do you rate your overall member experience?
  • What benefits do you find most useful?
  • What would make your experience better?
  • Do you plan to renew? If not, why?
  • Would you recommend joining the association to a friend?

Lapsed members – It might seem odd to send a member satisfaction survey to lapsed members. But uncovering why members leave can give you great insights into how to improve the member experience (and maybe even win back lapsed members).

Create a short survey for lapsed members that asks as few questions as possible while still gathering the information you need. Some suggested questions to ask:

  • Why did you decide not to renew your membership?
  • At what point did you make the decision?
  • What would have made your membership more valuable?
  • Were there any aspects of your membership that you found valuable? If so, what were they?
  • Is there anything that would make you consider joining again in the future? If so, what?  

Review and incorporate feedback 

Regularly review responses from your member satisfaction surveys and plan to incorporate what you learn into your member retention program.  

Here are a few ways to put the survey responses to work:

  • Schedule a regular (monthly or quarterly) meeting with your team to go over the data and make recommendations on how you can incorporate feedback into your programs, processes, and marketing.
  • If you need more details, follow up with select members. Just be mindful, based on their survey answers, if they’ll likely be open to additional contact from your organization.
  • For members who suggest changes your organization might make, consider presenting them with your ideas for improvements and ask what they think. Then, let them know when you make changes that are a direct result of their feedback. 

Learn more 
Learn more tips and techniques for member retention: Read the guide, How to Drive Greater Member Loyalty for Your Association.  

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