Balance Your Data For Chapter Success

Balance Your Data for Chapter Success

We already know that members are the bloodline of the chapter. Members pay dues, attend meetings, consume content, and share their experience with colleagues. Without happy members, new membership building falls flat. The StarChapter Blog has long stressed the importance of talking and listening to members about their experiences within the chapter, as a way to gather valuable, big-picture information.

Many researchers err in the side of over-simplifying the process of surveying members by using just one methodology. Utilization of one method can offer great insights, but it often falls short on providing a complete array of knowledge about who members are and what they need from participation in the chapter. By balancing qualitative and quantitative methodologies, chapter leadership can learn what members really want out of their membership, and then that knowledge can collectively be applied when planning events and content.

For holistic examination of your members, there are two key parts of the equation to achieve chapter cohesion:

Quantitative Data + Qualitative Data = Chapter Success

There are a multitude of approaches to collect data as you evaluate (or reevaluate) how the chapter serves its membership. Combining multiple methods is not doomed to necessarily be a hefty process, but when taken together, use of multiple methods will provide a complete picture of your members’ needs and desires toward their role in your chapter’s success.

Quantitative methods

  • Surveys are the most basic way to gage the sentiment on a “number” scale. Ask members yes/no questions or rank an experience. Then do counts. You can incorporate open-ended questions right into the survey, which is a great way to mix in qualitative methods. For an in-depth look at how StarChapter can be used for survey creation, click here.
  • Generate reports that provide clear-cut raw data. The Reports offer information about how many people attended a meeting, offer the ability to compare meeting details, and even look at demographics regarding who is attending. You can even create charts and diagrams to pictorially represent the information. It does not give direct feedback on what your members think, leaving you to deduce their sentiments based on attendance rates.


 Qualitative Methods

  • Interviews involve one-on-one discussions with members. They can be focused on one issue or general in nature. Amanda Kaiser concludes that interviews feed an association’s strategic direction. If timing is problematic, interviews can be conducted in the form of a written questionnaire. In person, however, interviews offer the ability for immediate follow-up of deviations to gain more knowledge. These tend to be time consuming, but while being conducted, demographics and other facts/figures often obtained through a survey that can also be collected.
  • A case study can be conducted to learn the impact of a single event, person, or activity on the chapter. For instance, examine the effectiveness of your annual event or your volunteer of the year. The case study should drive understanding as to why and how that case added to the success of the chapter and what it means for member identity. Coupled with facts and figures obtained through surveys and reports, the examination of a case provides a snapshot to a key part of the chapter.


No matter which of the four above methods you intertwine, utilize a historical examination, which involves comparing the collected data across multiple time periods. This innately relies on both data and interpretation to systematically evaluate your chapter over time. For association chapters, this component of research is most useful for planning larger events that may involve inter-chapter cooperation as it provides insight into the impact of trends both within the chapter and the industry.

Giving a voice to your members allows them to drive their experience with the chapter. More importantly, it allows you to know what chapter leadership can do to fill the gaps to achieve membership satisfaction. The process for research doesn’t need to be difficult and when guided with a clear purpose, the work of collecting data is simple and clear cut. Combined research methods put the power for chapter success in the hands of the entire chapter community.

Return to list



    Leave a Comment

    Users love StarChapter on G2 Crowd

    Read more starchapter reviews


    Join Our Newsletter

    Sign Up Now

    Request a Live Demo and Grow Your Association Chapter Today.

    StarChapter in The Top-20 List - Capterra


    Follow Us