Mass marketing is so 1990's! Spend spend/waste wasteThis blog will take you in a different direction. It focuses on association recruitment and retention of members by using targeted methods and communications, and there will be an occasional sojourn into related topics of interest. Rather than discuss the broad, the general, and the "same old," the goal of this blog is to provide useful tools, fact sheets that answer specific questions, and inspiration to those looking to make their jobs more interesting and fun.Thank you for visiting and I welcome your feedback and ideas.

Posted By Leah Baker

The past ten years have been full of ups and downs, unexpected developments, and demands for the most creative and resourceful leadership. Associations that anticipate the future needs and demographics of their members are in a much better position to succeed than associations who prefer to work in the dark.

 

Some associations are actually afraid to hear from their members! Others value this feedback and use it to do strategic planning, to set budget priorities, and to give members what they want.

 

My company, Allegiance Research Group, has done membership surveys for over 100 national associations and this has been our specialty for twenty years. This data will prepare you for the years ahead and here are some types of questions we like to ask on a member survey.

 

Q Do you think you will be a member of this association in five years?

Q What words come to mind when you hear the name of this association?

Q Do you expect to find articles of interest in every issue of the association magazine? Topics you would like?

Q How do you like to receive communications from this association?

Q Do you plan to attend the next Annual Conference? Topics you would like?

Q What issues do you consider most important when we represent you before Congress?

Q Do you plan to take part in this association’s certification program?

Q Do you have ideas for books or articles by this association?

Q Tell us about yourself: age group; gender; region; years as member; etc.

Q What is your biggest professional need?

 

In twenty years we have never missed a deadline and we take care of all the steps involved in doing a survey such as: selecting scientific samples; designing the questionnaire; computer programming; and final report with narrative, charts and graphs, and crosstab tables. Most of our surveys are by mail or Internet. For more info call 703-772-5263 or e-mail AllegianceResearch@gmail.com


 
Posted By Leah Baker

The Virginia Society of Association Executives has invited Dr. Dale Paulson, President of Allegiance Research Group, to their Annual Conference in May 2010 to give a presentation on member segmentation and target marketing. This is in Northern Virginia and is a good chance for those of you in the Washington, DC Metro Area to attend an association conference without incurring the cost of traveling a long distance. No need to go to the West Coast or to Canada! Great information is right here in the Metro Area.

 

For those interested in consumer psychology, take a look at the recently-published book “Brick & Mortar: Shopping in the 21st Century” that includes a chapter by Dr. Paulson describing his pictographic research. He describes cartoon sequence research and addresses the mystery of consumer decision-making and rationale. This book is edited by Tina Lowrey, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Texas in San Antonio, and has its foundations in the 25th Annual Advertising and Consumer Psychology Conference of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Consumer Research.

 

Free Fact Sheets! Just give us a call or send an e-mail and we will be glad to send some to you. There are over a dozen and a list of all of them is at our Web site at www.AllegianceResearch.com The most popular are:

 

YTheyJoin™ - nine member types and target marketing

 

Determining Confidence Level From Sample Size Using Your Calculator

 

Developing Effective Survey Questions

 

Prioritizing Objectives of Board Members by Using Fixed-Sum Preference Scales

 

If you would like more info about research call us at 703-772-5263 or e-mail AllegianceResearch@gmail.com


 
Posted By Leah Baker

Here are some tips to use when writing your next RFP for surveys or other research services. We like to divide our proposals into the following sections: Introduction and Goal; Questionnaire Design; Research Methodology and Sampling Strategy; Computer Programming and Data Entry; Final Report with Statistical Tables and Graphs; Schedule; Costs; and Company Background.

 

Company Background--At least one executive should have a college degree that included statistics courses. This can be a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree or Ph.D. with courses in research methodology is preferable.

 

Ownership--Be sure that your assn owns the results.

 

Costs--Ask for a fixed cost for the research services and it is usual to pay half to start and half at the end. The cost should include design of research methodology and any sampling strategy, q're design, computer programming, data entry, and final report with tables and narrative analysis. With mail surveys there will be additional costs for printing, postage, and mail-related services. With Internet surveys there may be additional costs for sending and hosting.

 

Schedule--After you cut-off the surveys, it should take no longer than 3 to 4 weeks for the company to produce the final report. In my opinion, if it takes longer than a few weeks they are wasting your time and money.

 

Final Report--The final report should include a methodology statement, tables, narrative report with analysis, graphs such as pie charts/bar graphs, and an Executive Summary. What if you want more crosstabs in the future? My company offers to produce any crosstabs in the future at no extra cost. The summary statistics at the bottom of each crosstab table should include chi square and mean and possibly more since these help guide the data analyst. Results for salary surveys can be reported by quartiles or every tenth percentile. The summary statistics (at the bottom of each crosstab table) for salary surveys should include mean, median, and mode as well as the lowest and highest salary.

 

For more info call 703-772-5263


 
Posted By Leah Baker

My company is known for achieving very high response rates for surveys, usually 65% or more. Our record is an 80% response rate that we achieved for a membership survey for the Population Reference Bureau. The process to achieve a high response rate for a survey by regular mail involves an orchestrated strategy and today I will share some of our secrets with you.

 

1. Always start with a well-constructed questionnaire and be sure at least one person working on the project has taken a statistics course in undergrad or grad school. They also need to understand the software that will be used. We recommend The Survey System for mail or Internet surveys because it is powerful yet fairly easy to understand. In my opinion Survey Monkey, etc. is too limiting and SPSS is waaaay too complicated (been there, done that).

 

2. Print the questionnaire on lightweight paper in a small-booklet format. This stands out from other papers on a person’s desk and it can be up to 12 pages.

 

3. Include a personalized cover letter signed by the Executive Director or the President, and a postage-paid return envelope.

 

4. The mailing, including the lightweight booklet, cover letter, reply envelope, and mailout envelope will be under one ounce! (Take a bow please) Use first-class postage, preferably a stamp rather than a meter.

 

5. Send out the first mailing, then 10 days later send out a reminder postcard (it is a reminder plus it also says thanks if you already responded), and 14 days after that send out a second mailing to non-respondents.

 

6. If you want the most candid answers and a higher response rate, do not ask for the name of respondent or make it optional.

 

You will be well on your way to a high-response mail survey. Internet surveys get lower response rates and some of our clients like to combine the methods and do both mail and Internet, especially if they have international members. For more info call us at 703-772-5263 or e-mail AllegianceResearch@gmail.com 


 
Posted By Leah Baker

Please be an educated consumer and know that there are two kinds of research: scientific and un-scientific. You cannot make generalizations from studies if they were not done scientifically! Statisticians have known this a long time - remember the headline “Dewey Beats Truman” in the 1948 presidential election!

 

Scientific research follows the rules of statistics and randomness and includes a detailed methodology statement explaining how these rules were followed. It is especially important when selecting a random sample or a stratified random sample of people to be surveyed. If these rules are followed, then you can use the survey results of a sample to accurately predict the behavior of all your association members or other organizations, i.e. you can generalize. The person conducting the scientific research will be able to tell you the level of confidence – for example, “you can predict within plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.” They can explain how many people you need to survey to achieve different levels of confidence and they can also explain non-response bias.

 

Unscientific research or open-ended research does not rely on these methods and should never be used to predict the behavior of all of your association members or of associations in general. This type of research includes such things as interviews, focus groups, and any survey of a sample of people not done scientifically. When reporting the results of these projects, be careful to say something like “The majority of the respondents to this survey say that . . .” You cannot generalize about all members or all associations. There should be a statement at the beginning of the final report saying the survey was not done scientifically and generalizations cannot be made.

 

In a nutshell, with a scientific survey you can predict behavior with precision. You can say that all members do this . . ., or most associations do that . . . 

 

With unscientific research you cannot predict behavior with precision. You cannot say that all members do this, or most associations do that.

 

Bottom line is you want your researcher to have taken at least one statistics course in college or grad school!

 

My company has done scientific surveys for over 100 national associations. And yes, we have advanced degrees in research! For more info call 703-772-5263 or e-mail AllegianceResearch@gmail.com

 


 


 
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