Conducting member surveys is a great way to collect insight into attrition and satisfaction. The most popular ways to track member satisfaction include annual membership surveys (48%), exit surveys (51%), and collecting member feedback in a suggestion box (49%).
Being proactive about member retention can help an organization get ahead of member cancellations. Still, when attrition occurs, having a plan in place to recover lost members is important. Less than half the organizations surveyed have a member recovery plan.
51% of organizations report they conduct exit surveys to help understand why members are leaving, which is a 6% increase over last year.
Putting more emphasis on continuous feedback (think phone, email, and online) more than once a year could help centers make necessary improvements and lower attrition. Only 22% (compared to 2014’s 30%) of organizations solicit feedback more than once a year. Regular “member pulse checks” maximize interactions with members and give them a voice in the member community.
Word-of-mouth referrals are still viewed by organizations as being the most effective communication channel for attracting new members. For the first time, social media (11%) ranked behind word-of-mouth, displacing direct mail as the most effective way to attract new members.
Social media referrals may be catching on as more millennials become members. With this in mind, software provider HootSuite stresses the importance of getting your employees and your loyal followers on the same page when it comes to social:
Give your employees and volunteers a social media education. Many younger employees and volunteers already feel comfortable conversing in the social media realm and you can use that base knowledge to work for your association. Before you give anyone the keys to your social media accounts, be sure they understand how you would like them to communicate professionally in order to further the mission of your nonprofit. A helpful step is to designate one full-time employee to train and monitor the messages that are put out by others on social media. Be sure to set up social media keyword searches so you can quickly identify mentions from all sources.
Recruit loyal members to talk about your organization to their social networks. Have a running club that meets regularly at your center? Is the head of the group active in the local running community? Chances are this person has a lot of influence. HootSuite offers their “ambassadors” brand education, online recognition, and company goodies to encourage them to participate on social media. In this way, loyal members can become ambassadors for your association and for your mission. (“Doing more with Less: how Nonprofits Build Social Media Armies,” HootSuite, May 2014).
Being active on social media can often be an afterthought, but doing the work on the front end will encourage staff and loyal members to participate. Widespread participation creates an active social online community that can enhance your word-of-mouth referrals and further your nonprofit’s mission.
About Trends & Opportunities
Daxko conducts the Trends & Opportunities survey annually to gather insights on nonprofits and the members they serve. This year’s study was fielded in December 2014 via email and included YMCAs, JCCs, Boys and Girls Clubs and other community centers. We had more than 350 member-based nonprofit professionals respond to this survey representing 314 unique associations.