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    The Voice of the Members

    We wanted to know how we were doing and you told us.  Your responses to our first annual comprehensive membership satisfaction survey indicated that while the overwhelming majority of members are satisfied with the performance of their trade association, there is certainly room for improvement.  We appreciate the time you took to provide us your feedback, and all of us here at NFCA are committed to improving our performance and exceeding your expectations in 2009.

    Why conduct such a survey?  There are two primary reasons: First, this year’s survey being the first of its kind provides a baseline to measure our performance – and your level of satisfaction – in years to come.  We will conduct essentially the same survey every October and gauge our progress by determining how well we met your needs.  Second, this survey allows members to provide association staff and volunteer leaders feedback on the value of association membership and on specific ways to enhance that value.  The survey offers you the chance to have your voice heard – a critical component in any trade association.

    Executives from 40 of NFCA’s 73 member societies responded to the 2008 survey.  The majority of respondents represented small societies with less than $50 million in annual direct written premium.  Only six societies with more over $50 million in annual direct written premium responded.  While the number of responses was encouraging given that this was the first time we attempted such a survey, one of our first goals for the 2009 survey will be to increase the response level.  We want and need to hear from ALL members to effectively evaluate our performance and identify those areas where we need to offer improved or enhanced services.

    Most survey questions were configured with five possible responses, allowing respondents to rank individual items from “Not Satisfied” to “Completely Satisfied” or from “Not Important” to “Essential.”  In reviewing the results of the survey, we paid particular attention to what’s known as the “Top Two” and “Bottom Two” boxes – the number of responses that were recorded on either end of the response spectrum, because these indicated a strong feeling either way about the item or issue. 

    That’s not to say that “Middle of the Road” responses were ignored.  On the contrary, these responses (especially to those questions about NFCA’s performance in a specific area or about a particular NFCA product or service) provide valuable insights as to where we need to improve.  These responses are basically saying that the individual is OK with our performance, but certainly not knocked out by it.  We want to be more than “just OK,” so our goal in 2009 will be to move as many of these responses as possible into the “Top Two” tier.

    Members ranked advocacy, information and networking as the most important NFCA activities to their societies.  Information on compliance with new laws and regulations was viewed as a particularly important service, with 82% of respondents ranking it in the “Top Two” as “Very Important” or “Essential.”  Effective representation before state and federal legislators also scored high, with 77% indicating that it was “Very Important” or Essential.”

    When it comes to member satisfaction, it’s a “good news/bad news” scenario.  On the bright side, nearly 90% of respondents reported that they are satisfied with the association’s performance in the public policy, advocacy and information arenas.  However, large segments of respondents (anywhere from 32-42%) ranked us in the “Middle of the Road” in each of these areas, as well as for our overall performance, indicating that while you are pleased with our performance, there is room for improvement. 

    Members also provided valuable feedback on their participation and the perceived benefits of JOIN HANDS DAY, as well as on the variety of new membership benefits NFCA is studying (group health care and reinsurance top the list).  I invite you to click here and review the entire survey results.  I also encourage you to provide frequent feedback on our performance. There is no need to wait for next year’s survey to tell us what we’re doing right and where we need to improve.  Please use the “Comment” mechanism on this blog to voice your praise and critiques so that we can continually improve and better meet your needs.

    Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

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