Member survey helps NASW focus priorities

About 10,000 members, nonmembers and stakeholders completed an online NASW membership survey, which was distributed by email in May.

NASW CEO Angelo McClain said the survey results enable the association to better tailor benefits, services, products and activities to members’ expectations.

“It was very gratifying to know that the goals within our 2014-2017 strategic plan are in alignment with the survey findings,” McClain said. “We’re delighted that nearly 10,000 folks took the time to respond to the survey. It provides us with real-time information regarding what our members need from the association.”

Jennifer Watt, director of membership at NASW, said the survey was a way to efficiently take the pulse of how members access resources at NASW and how they feel about the services they receive.

“It’s critically important for us to understand where the gaps are, and how members feel we’re doing in meeting their expectations,” Watt said.

Based on survey findings, Watt says members want NASW to focus on improvements in practice and professional development issues, and in advocating for social work justice and workforce issues, such as working conditions.

The survey also shows that 62 percent of members said they joined NASW as a student. Watt says NASW is grateful for members who have participated throughout their careers, as well as those joining who are newer to the social work profession. The needs of these newer professionals differ from those more advanced in their careers, she said.

“It’s important to put some focus on this demographic, as they are the future of social work,” Watt said. “We’re working on improving methods to help these newer professionals stay informed, plan their career path and develop leadership skills.”

News and information are among the most used NASW benefits, with 84 percent of survey respondents using NASW News and 76 percent using legislative and regulatory updates and alerts most often.

Members indicated high levels of interest in new programs, products and services, including more continuing education opportunities, training and simulation modules.

About 79 percent of members who completed the survey hold an MSW; 32 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64; and 69 percent joined NASW to stay current about the social work profession.

The email alert to complete the survey was sent to all members who have a valid email address on file.

“Interestingly, the majority of respondents say that email is their preferred method of communication, but we know some members are not seeing NASW messages,” Watt said.

She encourages members to check “spam” filters for NASW communications, and to list NASW as an approved sender to prevent NASW emails from being missed.

“We especially want to thank everyone who completed the survey for their time and insightful comments,” Watt said. “Even when comments are critical, we appreciate the thoughtful input. It helps us to select the areas we need to concentrate on most.”

The survey findings were completed with support from McKinley Advisors, a consulting firm that supports associations with services in program marketing, membership, and product and program development.

NASW welcomes ongoing feedback from members through the following channels: