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Home > About > News and Events > News > Guild News > Highlights from 2013 Membership Satisfaction Survey

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Highlights from 2013 Membership Satisfaction Survey

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Nov 11, 2013
New York , NY

This fall we conducted our 2013 Member Satisfaction Survey. We know that our members’ needs change over time and periodically conduct this survey to get important information on how we are doing and how we can improve. This year’s survey was sent to more than 2,000 individuals affiliated with our Full and Education Affiliate member organizations; 417 completed the survey.

Below is an overview of some of the things we’ve learned about our organization. In the next few months, we will be delving more deeply into the survey data to learn more about what our members value about their Guild membership, which benefits of membership are most useful to them, what additional support they and their organizations need, and how they are accessing our information and services.

We know that we serve a diverse group of individuals affiliated with our member organizations. This group includes executive directors, program or administrative staff, faculty, trustees, and volunteers (just to name a few)—and many wear multiple hats. These individuals range in age and have diverse educational backgrounds—including degrees in specific artistic disciplines, education, nonprofit management, finance, marketing, development, social work, and other areas. Some are just beginning their careers in arts education and arts administration, while others are seasoned veterans in the field.

These individuals also work with many different types of organizations. The Guild’s organizational membership is multidisciplinary, with budgets ranging from under $100,000 to more than $10 million a year. It includes community schools of the arts; arts & cultural centers; and arts education divisions of colleges/universities, performing arts organizations, museums, social service agencies, civic agencies, and other institutions.

We believe the diversity of the perspectives and experiences within our membership is a source of inspiration and strength that benefits the field and our communities. We also recognize that the people and the organizations we serve have different preferences and needs. The findings from this survey will help us continue to develop programs and services that meet those needs.

Here are some of the macro-level things we’ve learned from the survey so far:

Top Reasons for Membership
We asked individuals responsible for renewing their organization’s membership to select their top three factors for renewing membership. The top 5 reasons were:

  1. Conference for Community Arts Education (
  2. Continued education for myself, my staff, and my board
  3. Professional networking
  4. National visibility and recognition for my organization
  5. Publications and information resources (e.g. Resource Center, best practices guides, newsletter, Member E-Bulletin, benchmarking survey reports)

Most Highly Valued Services
While the average satisfaction ratings for all of our services were high, the services rated most valuable (when we asked respondents to select their top three) were:

  1. Conference for Community Arts Education (
  2. GuildNotes, our quarterly newsletter (available in hard copy as well as electronically)
  3. Best Practices Guides (e.g. More Than the Sum of Its Parts, Engaging Adolescents, Partners in Excellence, Creativity Matters: The Arts & Aging Toolkit)
  4. Community Arts Education Resource Center 
  5. Benchmarking Data Reports

Barriers to Participation

  1. Overwhelmingly, the answer was: “Not enough time.”
  2. Under-staffed
  3. Not aware that all of the services exist or how to access them/get involved.

Member Suggestions
We asked individuals to tell us what we could be doing differently (or more of) to improve their experience as Guild members. Here were some of the most frequent suggestions we received:

  1. Increased opportunities for leadership development for current and emerging leaders
  2. Increased opportunities for year-round connection with Guild members, particularly with similar organizations  (e.g. similar artistic discipline, region, organizational type, organizational size, program type, etc.)
  3. Targeted professional development based on level of expertise, job role, organizational budget size, etc.

Some of the other things people mentioned were:

  • Increased opportunities for mentorship
  • More involvement and resources from other sectors
  • More funding opportunities
  • Help with advocacy

Thinking Ahead

  1. Making Services More Accessible and Affordable
    While we can’t stretch 24 hours into 26, we are exploring ways of making our programs, services and information resources more accessible (and available to you when you do have time) through our online Resource Center, webinar library, and web-based Member Forum, as well as by live streaming some of our events, etc..
  2. Developing Opportunities for Connection and Collaboration
    The Guild supports networking, collaboration, and convening year round through national and regional meetings, conference calls, webinars, working interest groups, our online Member Forum, advocacy efforts, research activities, publications, and more. Many of these activities provide opportunities for getting involved with the field at the national level. And we are continuing to develop new opportunities to structure and facilitate this type of connection. Examples include the Guild’s Collegiate Divisional Interest Group and our new Arts-Based Youth Development Interest Group.
  3. Developing Leaders
    Strong leaders are an essential ingredient of successful community arts education organizations. We are continuing to develop opportunities for current and emerging leaders to build the knowledge and skills they need to help advance their organization and realize our vision of arts education for all.

Please give us a call or send us an email to keep sharing ideas, asking questions, and offering suggestions. We want to hear from you. Contact us.

If you are currently a member and have questions about how to get the most out of your membership, we are always happy to go over your benefits with you and walk you (and your team) through how to access and use our online resources. Simply contact Ariana Schrier, member engagement coordinator, at or at (212) 268-3337 ext. 13.

Additionally, we present a Member Benefits Webinar three times a year; our next one will be in December 2013. This is a great opportunity to learn more about your benefits and ask questions. A recording of our last webinar is available here on our Join page.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.