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Research professional Gary Toyn has long investigated the challenges faced by organizations across the membership spectrum. In today's post, Gary turns his attention to the central question of member expectations - and how recent data suggests a growing perception gap among the membership organizations that serve them.

At Access, we frequently consult with clients and prospective clients who are seeking to boost member engagement and retention. In the course of those interactions we see a surprising gap between organizational leaders and their members. Frequently, the misalignment that exists is due to a lack of understanding of what today’s members really want from their affiliation.

In many cases, leaders of organizations have never asked members what they need or want, nor have they asked what types of services and benefits members expect. Some leaders rely on guesswork or assumptions in identifying their member’s needs, and others simply ignore member feedback altogether.  We see this happen far too often.