How to survey members

Surveying members can help you better understand and meet their needs.

So that you can do this effectively, here are our top tips for planning and implementing your survey.

Wideshot of club members enjoying a day on the water

Planning your survey

Be clear on what you want to find out. This information will form the bedrock of your survey design and help you avoid mission creep.

Collaborate with members of the committee (and staff) to create the survey. Once the questions are finalised allow the survey to be open for three weeks. This gives members enough time to complete it.

Resist the temptation to offer incentives. The best incentive for members is to feel that their survey participation will ultimately benefit them through long term improvements.

Prepare an initial response within a week of the survey closing, and detailed feedback with any associated actions within 4 weeks.

Creating your survey

Wideshot of boat sailing in the distance

The survey should focus on useful information that you plan to utilise. Questions should be clear, unambiguous, and easy for respondents to answer, with no double or leading questions.

Members need to feel they can say what they think without challenge or repercussions, and that their responses are anonymous.

The number of questions is not important. What is more important is how long the survey takes to complete. Respondents will spend time answering a longer questionnaire if the questions are relevant, interesting, and have a clear purpose.

Whilst you write the questions, consider how you are going to analyse the results. Too many open question answers will be impossible to analyse.

To conduct the survey, we recommend using a free site such as Google Forms, which is easy to use and provides integral data analysis.

Communication with members 

wideshot of surveying members

Throughout the process communication is key:

Week 1 - Send out an email explaining that a survey is going to take place.

Week 2 - Distribute the link to the survey via email alongside some explanatory text. Detail why you are doing this and the importance of members completing the survey. Perhaps put posters up where members visit the premises, include details about the survey in the weekly newsletter and put messages out on social media to encourage members to feedback.

Week 3 - Give an update on the number of surveys completed. Thank those who’ve already filled in the survey and encourage those who haven’t yet.

Week 4 - Provide the top line results of the survey in the final call for filling in the survey e.g. percentage of members who completed the survey, and encourage those who haven’t by explaining that their views matter too.

Week 5 – Close the survey and analyse the data.

Week 6 - Present headline results to the committee.

Decide on the actions to be taken from your findings. Once confirmed, distribute the results including the actions to be implemented from the survey’s answers.

Use our quick and easy questions as a way of finding out what your volunteers really think