Daily Buzz: Filtering Through Feedback

Take a deeper look at the feedback your organization receives. Also: providing services for multiple member types within your organization.

If you’re an association leader, you’re probably inundated with feedback from members, the board of directors, volunteers, and staff. How do you know what to respond to?

First, it depends on the kind of feedback you’re dealing with, says Amanda Kaiser of Smooth the Path. Is the feedback based on irregular issues or systemic issues? The former includes odd complaints like “the coffee is cold.”

“Unless you are hearing feedback about irregular issues often and over time, do not dwell here. It is the feedback arising from systematic issues we want to vet for correctness,” Kaiser says.

Most of your feedback can probably be categorized as systemic: These are complaints based on problems created by ineffective processes, systems, platforms, rules, or people, Kaiser explains. If comments number in the hundreds or thousands, whittle them down to what’s most important by looking for patterns.

“Not every view is shared by every member. Not every opinion is worth pursuing,” Kaiser says. “Organizations that are good at pattern recognition tend to follow up on member feedback wisely.”

To further narrow your scope, ask yourself questions such as “Have five or more people mentioned the same challenge?” and “Could the people giving the feedback have an ulterior motive?” Thinking critically about feedback in this way will help you see what’s worth responding to.

Serving All Types of Members

Associations often attract people with many different backgrounds and interests, leaving management teams with a difficult task: catering to each and every one of them. It helps to put yourself in their shoes, argues Raybourn Group International’s Melissa Heeke, CAE.

“Once you have determined how much energy your paid staff and volunteers can afford to spend on each membership type, take the next step and consider spending a day in the life of that member. Who are they serving? What are their pain points, and how do they define success?” she says.

Empathizing with members will help strengthen their relationship with your organization, Heeke argues.

Other Links of Note

Why do people refuse to volunteer? There are a few surprising reasons, suggests VolunteerMatch’s Laura Plato.

Panel discussions are often the focal point of an event. Sofia Wright of Smart Meetings offers five tips to effectively navigate a speaker panel.

Don’t have a budget? Then you don’t have a mission, says Suja Amir on Blue Avocado. She breaks down budgeting basics.

(puszaya/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Michael Hickey

By Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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