Associations have an ongoing need to understand what both their members and non-members experience in their professional lives, in order to craft offerings they will value and be loyal to. 

A member needs assessment may be conducted as part of a strategic plan or on a standalone basis. It may include both qualitative and quantitative techniques, depending on the research objectives. The more complex and significant the decisions to be made with the data, the greater the investment in the data-gathering should be.

Member segmentation is a critical tactic to employ to understand how to differentiate between types of members, who have different needs, priorities, and expectations. In a segmentation project, we can identify the differences that make a difference between members, size and describe various member segments, prioritize key segments for growth, and develop tactics to attract and retain members by targeted segment offers.

Understanding prospects – particularly why they are not members – can yield significant insights, and takes an association outside its comfort zone. This can be done via survey instruments, but truly rich insights more often come from interview research. Locating prospects to speak with in the absence of a comprehensive list is possible given various research techniques.

Member and prospect research may also be undertaken to:

  • Understand opportunities for a particular product or service, either as part of a feasibility assessment or to evaluate an existing offering.
  • As part of a conference assessment.
  • To gauge perceptions on a particular issue, e.g. for advocacy purposes.

We would be happy to discuss how we can help you increase your understanding of your members and prospects. Contact us at to discuss how we might be able to help.