Connect With Your Members

Knowing what is important to colleagues will help allow affiliate societies to prepare an advocacy program. Use surveys as a way to connect with affiliate members and nonmembers and discover more about them. Before developing a specific position to take on an issue, it is always good to acquire different perspectives. An educator may look at an issue differently than a technologist working in a clinical setting, or managers may look at things differently than a new graduate, so it's always best to find out your members' opinions on an issue is before your affiliate takes a position or launches an advocacy campaign. 

Think about what your affiliate society wants to know before creating your questions, and be prepared to act on the results. Don't waste time developing or managing a survey, or ask for respondents' feedback, if there is not an objective and a plan to use the information.

Sometimes members need incentive to respond to a survey. Your affiliate can motivate members and nonmembers to respond by offering a free membership (for example, you could draw names from those responding) or free registration at the affiliate’s annual meeting for one survey respondent. 

Tips for Successful Surveys

Here are a few helpful ideas to get started:

  • Set a goal and have a well-defined objective.
  • A good introduction or welcome message will encourage people to complete the survey. Explain why your affiliate is conducting the survey and how it is important to the respondent.
  • Explain to respondents how the feedback will be used. Respondents are more likely to participate in the survey if they know why the affiliate is asking specific questions.
    • Let the respondent know about how long it will take to complete the survey.
    • Organize your questions in a logical order.
    • Keep it short and simple.
    • Make sure questions have measurable results and have clearly defined answer labels. 
    • If the survey is more than 12 questions, break it up into groups, or pages, that contain smaller chunks of questions organized by category. For instance, you may have selected 20 questions that fit into five overall categories; in that case, create five pages with four questions each. Readers may be more likely to respond to this format.
    • Open-ended questions can be a way to collect valuable insights or opinions from respondents; however, a survey made up entirely of questions requiring written responses can be seen as daunting. Instead, consider assigning a value to the question:
      • Use agreement scales with terms like "strongly disagree" and "strongly agree."  
      • Use a ranking or rating system for answers. For example, "On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your experience?"
      • Multiple choice questions can determine ranges of information.
    • Time your survey wisely. If planning a licensure campaign, the affiliate may want to begin gathering information one year in advance. If you are looking for information to prepare for a meeting, start at least three months prior to the meeting.
    • Your affiliate should determine if responses to the survey should be completely anonymous. If there is a prize awarded for survey respondents, of if the affiliate is looking for potential advocates or new members, the survey cannot be anonymous.
    • Sample Survey Questions and Objectives

      Affiliates can use a survey to determine interest in and knowledge of the legislative process and can shed light on the overall approach that R.T.s in your state take regarding licensure and regulatory issues. Below are some examples of the types of questions you may want to address:

  • Are you aware that untrained people are being allowed to operate x-ray equipment in <name of state>?This question indicates knowledge of the issue at hand.)
  • Do you know of any errors that have occurred in <name of state> when an unregistered person performed medical imaging or radiation therapy procedures? If open-ended, responses may direct the legislative committee to investigate any possible need for individuals to talk with lawmakers.
  • Would you support licensure at the state level for medical imaging professionals in <name of state>? Provides an indication of support; however, the question does not go into detail, so it may require an option for a neutral response (i.e., "Yes," "No" or "Maybe.")
  • Are you interested in participating on a legislative committee with your state society? This question is helpful if the respondent is willing to provide a name.
  • Do you have any legislative contacts in the state capitol? Indicates possible points of contact among state lawmakers.
  • General demographics questions can be used to engage existing members and enlist new members. Learn what respondents do, where they work and their communication preferences. Ask questions like:
    • Which county do you live in?
    • What type of facility do you work in? (e.g., clinic, hospital or university setting)
    • What modalities are you certified in?
    • How do you like to receive communication? (e.g., phone, email)
    • Have you contacted our affiliate society in the past?
    • Are you a current affiliate member? 
    • Were you a member of the affiliate in the past?


    Following Up

    Keep the dialogue between the affiliate and survey takers going. Post the results of the survey on your website. Participants want to be heard and they want to know how the affiliate responded to their feedback.

    Guide survey respondents to more information on the issue at hand, either on your affiliate website or through social media.

    ASRT can assist your affiliate with survey development and survey hosting. There also are various templates and vendors for conducting surveys that you can find online. ASRT can assist affiliates by sending targeted emails to ASRT members in the state notifying them of the survey and survey location for advocacy-focused affiliate surveys.