Building Value Through Deep Understanding of What Members Want

Sep 3, 2019


As many of you know, I'm currently leading a new cohort of leaders through a six-week Member Experience Design Program. Together, they are working through the material to assess the experience currently being delivered by their organizations and deciding where improvements can happen.

Right now, we're about halfway through the six-week process and everything we've done so far has been focused on identifying and understanding member needs.

When I was initially creating the structure for the program, I wondered if spending the entire first half of the program on this would be too much. Ultimately, I decided that it's impossible to spend too much time focused on identifying and understanding member needs.

In fact, identifying and understanding member needs should be something that we intentionally pursue on a continuous basis – not just once when we're taking a course and not just annually when we're distributing a Member Satisfaction Survey.

The model that I use is something that cohort members will be able to return to again and again, every time they want to launch something new, or they feel like some changes might be warranted.

There are LOTS of different ways that you can be listening for what members need on an ongoing basis – the list is probably limited only by your imagination.

You could be:

  • Conducting surveys (or simply talking with) with new members
  • Conducting surveys (or simply talking with) existing members
  • Conducting surveys (or simply talking with) exiting members
  • Soliciting feedback via text or live chat during your events
  • Providing simple comment boxes on your website
  • Periodically calling or emailing members who seem to be disengaging
  • Listening on social channels (in your own channels or other places where members tend to hang out online)
  • Running quick polls
  • Hosting a dedicated channel for suggestions in your online community
  • Conducting exploratory interviews with non-members
  • Running a focus group as a conference break-out
  • Paying attention to website analytics
  • Gathering input from your staff or volunteers
  • Reviewing industry benchmarks and publications

This week, I'd like to challenge you to think about how intentionally – and how often – you actually connect in with what members are needing from your organization. Is it as often, or as continuous, as it could be?

I truly believe you can't possibly be listening too much, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Hit reply and let me know.

Leave a comment and let me know.


How I Can Support You:

If you ever find yourself in need of outside perspective to help you work through problems with the membership you lead, I can help in 3 ways:

1) Strategy Only – where we map out your best approach and you implement on your own; or

2) Strategy + Team Support – where we map out your best approach and my team helps you implement;

3) Strategy + Group Support – where we map out your best approach and you work alongside other organizations who are working on the same thing.

The best way to get started is by scheduling a quick call.


Joy Duling is Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.  Since 2005, Joy and her team have helped associations, trade groups and membership-based nonprofits run their programs more easily and deliver exceptional member care.

You can find FREE tools, tips and training to help you run and grow your membership organization in The Joy of Membership Help Hub.

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