An Association Adapting to Meet the Evolving Needs of Its Members: Results of the 2005 TAWPI Membership Survey
(Originally published in the October 2005 issue of TAWPI's TODAY.)
By William K. Pollock
It Was Time to Conduct a Comprehensive and Objective Membership Survey
In May 2005, Frank Moran, president of TAWPI, and Christina Ransom, TAWPI's Membership Director, commissioned Strategies For GrowthSMto conduct the association's 2005 Membership Survey. After years of having designed, executed and analyzed the results of its annual membership survey in-house, TAWPI's executive management felt that it would be better served to collect more objective data, and gain additional insight by having an outside, third-party consulting firm conduct the current year's survey.
The survey was launched on June 23, 2005, and the final returns were received and processed on July 10, 2005. A full report and executive briefing were presented to TAWPI's Board of Directors at its annual meeting held in conjunction with TAWPI 2005, this year in Baltimore, Maryland on July 23. The following is a summary of those results.
The TAWPI Membership Base Is Relatively Diverse
The survey results revealed that the existing TAWPI membership is relatively "bell-shaped", with just over one-third (35%) having been members for 2 years or less, and slightly more (38%) having been members for more than 5 years. The distribution of respondents by their organization's primary business activity was particularly diverse, with no one category receiving more than one-sixth (16%) of the total responses. Only Banking and Utilities/Energy received more than 10% of total responses.
Operations Management represented the single largest classification of primary job function among the association's total respondent base, although no job function received more than 17% of the total member response. Remittance Processing, Data Capture/Entry and Imaging were the only three categories cited by a majority of TAWPI members as representing one of their primary areas of specialty; however, Mail Processing and Forms Processing were also cited by at least 20% of the total respondent base.
The Reasons for Joining TAWPI Are Quite Clear
Keeping up-to-date on industry issues (78%), attending TAWPI events or educational programs (65%), and engaging in networking opportunities (64%) are the most important reasons why people become members of TAWPI. As such, these have typically been the principal areas that have been marketed and promoted by the association. Other reasons cited by at least one-quarter of the respondent base include supporting the advancement of the industry (34%), accessing peer knowledge through listserves (28%), and gaining recognition as an industry professional (26%).
TAWPI Presently Meets Most of Its Members' Expectations - Satisfaction Is High
In total, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents believe that TAWPI currently meets most or all of their expectations for membership. Only 4% believe TAWPI meets few of their expectations. As such, the percent of respondents that believe TAWPI is currently meeting "most" or "all" of their expectations is 18 times higher than the percent that believe it is meeting only "few" of their expectations.
Similarly, nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents are "extremely satisfied" with their TAWPI membership. Only 3% claim to be "not very satisfied". Accordingly, the percent of respondents that claim to be either "extremely" or "very" satisfied with their TAWPI membership is more than 24 times higher than the percent claiming to be "not very" satisfied (Figure 1).
TODAY Magazine Is Cited as the Most Important Members-Only Benefit
Respondents consider TODAY Magazine to be the most important members-only benefit offered by the association, followed by the web site (i.e., www.TAWPI.org), the Technology Resource Guide, other members-only opportunities (free listings, employment listings, etc.), and the association's various publications and events.
Overall, TAWPI appears to be performing very well with respect to delivering on its various members-only benefits, and the association should be very proud of its performance. In fact, all of the derived Satisfaction Index ratings for the nine members-only benefits measured are consistently high, indicating that they are largely perceived by TAWPI members as being "better than required".
Industry Information & Studies are the Most Important TAWPI Products
Industry Information & Studies are rated as TAWPI's most important products, although networking opportunities are also highly rated by the survey respondents. In fact, nearly all of TAWPI's products and services are highly rated by its members, as a large majority of TAWPI members believe that the following TAWPI products and services evaluated are either "extremely" or "very" important:
TAWPI Offers a Broad Range of Industry Information Resources
- Industry Information (88% extremely/very)
- Industry Studies (82% extremely/very)
- Networking Opportunities (77% extremely/very)
- Industry Publications (73% extremely/very)
- Educational Programs (72% extremely/very)
- TODAY magazine, Resource Guides & Supplements (71% extremely/very)
There is no question about it - the Annual Forum/Expo is rated as TAWPI's most valuable industry information resource. However, the association's Benchmarking Studies are also highly rated, followed by TODAY magazine, www.TAWPI.org and industry publications. Overall, a majority of TAWPI member respondents believe the following TAWPI resources to be either "extremely" or "very" valuable:
TAWPI Members Are Not Shy About Encouraging their Peers to Join
- Annual Forum/Expo (88% extremely/very)
- Benchmarking Studies (75% extremely/very)
- TODAY Magazine (65% extremely/very)
- www.TAWPI.org (63% extremely/very)
- Publications (63% extremely/very)
- Work Process Link (TAWPI's E-newsletter) (55% extremely/very)
- Regional Conferences & Seminars (52% extremely/very)
More than a four-fifths majority of the survey respondents (83%) indicate that they would encourage their peers to join TAWPI. This is a very high percentage for trade associations to achieve, and a very valuable resource for TAWPI. As such, the association will continue to depend on its members to "spread the word" about the various benefits of membership.
The principal reasons used to encourage others to join the association include to:
TAWPI's Web Site Is a Major "Hit"
- Attend the annual TAWPI Forum/Expo
- Participate in a telephone seminar
- Attend a local chapter meeting
- Research vendors via the Technology Resource Center (online version)
- Purchase an industry survey or study
- Research members using the online directory
- Attend a TAWPI regional conference
- Purchase a TAWPI publication
Virtually all (98%) TAWPI members visit the association's web site on a regular or prompted basis. About one-fifth (20%) visit the web site on a weekly or more frequent basis; nearly one-half (48%) visit on a monthly basis; and another nearly one-third (30%) visit primarily when prompted via the TAWPI E-Newsletter.
The principal reasons cited for visiting the www.TAWPI.org web site are to:
The most useful pages of the www.TAWPI.org web site are cited as the following:
- Register for TAWPI events
- Find out what's going on at TAWPI
- Learn what's going on in the industry
- Update/renew memberships
- Research technology products and services
- Access TODAY magazine archives
- Purchase TAWPI products (e.g., publications, surveys, etc.)
- Read Listserve archives
- Obtain chapter information
TAWPI Members Are Faced with Major Priorities/Challenges
- Industry News and White Papers
- Remittance Processing Page
- Calendar of Events
- Industry Links
- Product Pages (Forum/Expo, ICP, TODAY, etc.)
- "Members Only" Section
- Technology Resource Center
- Home Page
- Forms Processing Page
- Mail Processing Page
- Document Management Page
- Archived News Page
- Local Chapters
- Marketing Opportunities
Overall, members cite the following as the greatest priorities/challenges facing the industry over the next few years:
The most valuable sources cited by TAWPI members when they are attempting to obtain specific information capture information to face these priorities/challenges are seminars, conventions, meetings, and trade shows; publications; and colleagues. TAWPI resources are cited very prominently among its members' lists of valuable sources of information.
- ARC/Check 21
- Decrease in Paper/Move to Electronic Processing
- Outsourcing-Related Issues
TAWPI's Purpose and Mission Are Clear - and Clearly Understood
Overall, nearly two-thirds (63%) of TAWPI members believe that the TAWPI name either "fully" or "mostly" reflects the purpose and mission of the association. The specific words or phrases used by the association that members believe most clearly reflect its purpose and mission are:
TAWPI's Members Want to Be Kept Informed
- Remittance Processing (84% "fully"/"mostly")
- Work Process Improvement (76% "fully"/"mostly")
- Information Capture (74% "fully"/"mostly")
- Imaging (73% "fully"/"mostly")
- Data Capture/Entry (70% "fully"/"mostly")
- Payments Processing - Non-electronic (70% "fully"/"mostly")
- Document Processing (69% "fully"/"mostly")
- Business Process Improvement (68% "fully"/"mostly")
- Process Optimization (65% "fully"/"mostly")
- Payments Processing - Electronic (63% "fully"/"mostly")
- Technology Management (63% "fully"/"mostly")
- Forms Processing (62% "fully"/"mostly")
- Document Management (59% "fully"/"mostly")
- Operations Management (59% "fully"/"mostly")
- Mail Handling (55% "fully"/"mostly")
- Records Management (51% "fully"/"mostly")
Overall, the most preferred means of communications between TAWPI and its members is via E-mail, cited by more than four-fifths (81%) of respondents. The remaining less than one-fifth (19%) cite mail/printed matter as the preferred means of communications.
TAWPI Is a Vibrant - and Adaptive - Association
Without a doubt, the 2005 Membership Survey confirms that TAWPI is an association that offers substantial member benefits, meets its members expectations, keeps them satisfied, and continually draws them in to gain a clearer knowledge and understanding of the industries in which they serve. The industry segments supported by TAWPI continue to evolve and change, and the association has apparently been quite successful in adapting to the changing needs of its constituents.
The survey results clearly reflect an organization that is meeting its members' evolving needs and requirements by providing them with ample opportunities - and resources - to help them make decisions, and network with the people and organizations they should be working with to provide their respective end-users and customers with the levels of service and support they require.
William K. Pollock is president of Strategies For GrowthSM (SFGSM), the Westtown, Pennsylvania-based services consulting firm specializing in strategic business planning, services marketing, CRM consulting, market/survey research, and customer satisfaction measurement and tracking programs. SFGSM recently conducted TAWPI's 2005 Membership Survey, and has conducted dozens of market research, customer satisfaction surveys and consulting assignments over the years for clients including Diebold, OPEX Corporation and many others. Bill may be reached at 610-399-9717 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.