Membership Surveys

Exploring Uncharted Waters…Membership Surveys

“Dr. Ray was exceptional to work with in formulating a membership survey to assist us in developing a master plan for both Ansley Golf Club & Atlanta Athletic Club. He conducted extensive focus groups on the front end and assembled relevant questions based upon those meetings. Consequently, the survey questions directly reflected current issues, trends and topics relative to our specific membership.

During the survey itself, Dr. Ray was in constant contact with us in updating numbers and encouraging communication to drive results. Once the survey was completed, the corresponding results, cross tabulations, and an executive summary were provided to our Board in advance of Dr. Ray meeting with us. At our Board meeting he provided a detailed report on the process, control mechanisms, our results and comparative data from similar clubs. Dr. Ray was instrumental in laying the groundwork for our Master Plan. “

David Sheppard, CCM; Atlanta Athletic Club and Anlsey Golf Club, Atlanta GA  
The preferences, opinions and ideas of your members should be the beacon that guides you through the sometimes turbulent waters of club management. It’s not enough to listen to the vocal minority…you need to know what the silent majority thinks and feels.


Membership surveys are a great tool for gathering this vital information, either as a precursor to a strategic plan, or just to get feedback on club issues such as a renovation or new capital project.

The best way to uncover the real preferences of your members, such as what features and services they want and what they would be willing to pay for them, is to conduct a carefully designed and unbiased survey. You must ask specific questions and get clear cut answers. Then the survey responses must be accurately interpreted.

Developing a membership survey is an eight step process:

Meet with club leaders to learn about key issues for the survey
Conduct member focus groups to uncover additional key areas
Develop a customized questionnaire
Distribute survey to all members
Collect data via a website survey or scan questionnaire into a computer database for accurate compilation
Create a detailed report with colored graphs and tables
Determine if differences exist among segments of the membership (i.e. membership categories, age groups, Net Promoter Score groups – Promoters, Passive, and Detractors, etc.)

There are several key advantages to this process–focus group participants tend to be supporters of the survey, encouraging other members to complete it. And a survey delivered to all members eliminates possible complaints about sampling errors. Our response rate averages over 50%.

Our extensive research background and experience with hundreds of clubs across North America gives us an outstanding track record in forecasting how members will vote on a variety of issues. This type of information is invaluable when club management is faced with important decisions such as capital projects and financing alternatives.