The information provided by a well-designed member survey is a valuable input into the process of planning programs and services to be offered by the organisation. Member surveys enable the organisation's management to identify where there are potential problems in service delivery and whether programs meet the needs and expectations of the membership. Furthermore member surveys also provide management with a chance to test new ideas and gauge the likelihood of success.
The following links provide access to an actual survey implemented in a soccer club. Section A of this survey is to gain simple demographic data about the membership. The usefulness of this section will be explained below. Section B of the survey is mostly about gauging members opinions about coaching, facilities, events and communication.
Download an example member survey form
Download survey results
Sometimes the initial analysis of survey responses does not tell you much. In the survey results above, Q7. "The quality of coaching meets with your expectations" provided the result:
On the face of it, the committee might be quite happy that the overwhelming majority of membership are satisfied with coaching. But this analysis might miss an important point. Cross tabbing is when the results of one question are analysed against the results of another.
In the following case, the question on satisfaction is analysed against the player age/gender groups within the club.
In the above example shows that the discontent is greatest in the Under 6-8 age group. This information might be missed without "cross tabbing".
Therefore all surveys should include some basic demographic data such as age or age group.
Many surveys and
questionnaires fail to deliver the information that is required.
Often much data is collected which in the end is very difficult
to analyse effectively. In a survey conducted by a high profile
basketball club on its spectator supporters, one question asked was:
How many games
did you attend last season?
This seems simple
and straightforward enough? Surely it is just a case of filling
in a number? Indeed many survey respondents did state a specific
number. However, others responded such as "Almost all",
"Most", "Half", "All but two" etc.
If a substantial number of survey respondents answer this question
in this way then summarising the information becomes
time consuming and the result is relatively difficult to analyse..
Perhaps the question
should have been asked as follows:
Question: How many games
did you attend last season? (cross only one box)
It is now possible
to summarise answers to the question easily. Moreover it is now
possible to place customers into discreet categories and this
information can be very useful when looking at answers to other
So are there some simple rules to follow when designing a survey?
The answer is "yes"!
RULE 1 What is the survey for?
This seems like a very basic concept but actually, it is worth a second thought. When designing a survey it is important to work backwards i.e. determine the information you need, and then design the questions to obtain this information.
For example, the management of the organisation might wish to better understand what new customers
are looking for when they join the organisation. One of many possible questions that may be asked is as follows:
Question: Which of
the following represents the main reason you joined this
organisation? (Cross only one box)
The answer to this type of question might help the management committee to develop programs that suit the need of new members, and furthermore the information may assist in the development of promotional materials.
RULE 2 Collect
demographic data about survey respondents
Age, sex, marital status and place of residence are all forms
of demographic data that we are used to completing on forms,
and with good reason. It is very important to understand the
different views of males and females, or young and old, or
employed and not employed. Knowing and understanding such
differences helps to improve services for particular groups
See more information on Demographics
RULE 3 Collect
Surveys should collect data that can be simply analysed and
summarised. For example, consider a question such as:
is your age?
a question may be answered in ways that increase the difficulty
Possible answers: 14 years 2 months, 25½, over 55. These
answers are examples of continuous data.
For ease of data analysis such a question should be accompanied
by a range of possible answers:
is your age?
RULE 4 Define
of results may be rendered worthless unless terms are clearly
defined for the survey respondent. For example, there may
be a need to know how the needs of new customers differ from existing customers. In such a case there must be a definition of
and "existing customer".
Is a new customer someone who signed up last week or is it anyone
who signed up less than one year ago? Definitions are clearly
RULE 5 Determine
your techniques for analysing and summarising answers
Supposing you have 300 survey respondents and each survey
has 30 questions! It is extremely important that the survey
is not constructed without a thought about dealing with the
sheer volume of answers. In such a situation it is worthwhile
constructing a database into which surveys are inputted, analysed
and summarised. The database should be constructed at the
same time as survey questions are being formulated. This reduces
the risk of questions that are difficult to analyse.
the number of respondents that would constitute a valid sample
It may be possible to survey all members or all participants.
However a very large number of participants may be too expensive
and time consuming to survey. In fact, reliable results may
be achieved by surveying only a small number of the total
population provided certain rules are observed. The number
of people surveyed is called the sample population.
Where only a sample population will be surveyed it is best
to consult someone with abilities in statistics. They will
need to determine the size of the sample population and how
it is selected from the total population.