The Strauss Blog

Evaluating Your Association Management Company

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Is your association management company doing what they are contracted to do in their scope of work? Are they doing it in the right way? How important are surveys?

“What gets measured gets improved,” is management guru Peter Drucker’s answer.

An annual survey of board members is a useful way to help your association management company fulfill the expectations of your board and ultimately better meet the needs of your members.

Each year, we ask board members to answer both multiple choice and open-ended questions.

Generic Survey Questions

Multiple Choice Questions:

  • I am satisfied with the way our association is managed;
  • Our association manager’s staff respond to my requests in a timely manner;
  • Our finances are well-managed;
  • Our association manager’s staff provide us with timely and proper documentation for board meetings;
  • Staff provides timely support for member programs and events;
  • The staff understands our members’ needs and responds to them in a timely fashion;
  • The staff understands our industry and the services that our members perform;
  • The staff help us to understand, and to develop and execute our leadership role in our association;
  • Membership support services are handled well by the staff;
  • Our association manager facilitates communication within our association well (example: putting members, board members, and committee chairs in touch with each other);
  • The staff provide a high level of support by creating documents, procedures, and providing information that enables volunteer board members to do their jobs effectively– they make my job as a volunteer easier;
  • We received value from our association management company;
  • I would refer our association management company to another association like ours.

For each of the above statements, board members are asked to check a box that best indicates their level of agreement: the choices include Agree, Disagree, or Not Applicable.

Open-ended questions:

  • Is there one thing you can think of that will make doing business with your association manager executive director better?
  • In what areas does your association manager excel?
  • In what areas does your association manager need to improve?
  • Do you have any specific feedback about your point(s) of contact with your association manager that you would like to share?
  • What do you see as the most significant challenge(s) facing your association in the next five years?
  • What could your association management company do to make your job as a volunteer easier?
  • Please share any final comments or thoughts regarding your experience with your association management company for the past year.

Questions Specific to Your Association

You might want to consider adding questions that related to your organization they could be related to:

  • If your association management company could focus on only one project in the coming year, what would the project be and why is this one project important?
  • Key projects and responsibilities critical to your association;
  • Responsibilities that have been added since the last survey.

Board Self-Evaluation

If your board does not conduct an annual self-assessment, then our article Evaluation is the Key to A Healthy Board might be helpful.

Low-Cost and No-Cost Online Survey Software Solutions

You can use Excel to tabulate the answers to multiple choice questions and Word for open ended answers if you are surveying your board.

If you want to survey more people, then there are many low-cost and no-cost software solutions. Two of the most popular ones are Survey Monkey and QuestionPro.

At no-cost they both allow you to ask up to 10-questions of up to 100 people. For $25 – $35 per month, you can survey up to 1,000 people—plus export data and reports.

Excel’s sort and filter functions are useful when working with large amounts of data and there are dozens of YouTube videos that will help you to learn how to use them in under 10-minutes. Using these functions will allow to you see relationships between answers (for example, if people who have been members of your association for more than five-years answer one or more questions differently than people who have just become members).

You do not need to have taken a statistics course to know if an answer(s) you receive is a “result likely due to chance or to some factor of interest (statistically significant)”, because this functionality is built-in.

Post-Event Surveys

If your association presents professional development programming and/or conferences, then our article Analyzing Responses from Post Event Surveys might of interest to you.

Asking the right questions can help your board to better meet the needs of your members and/or achieve your association’s mission.

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