How to Get More Members for Kids Programs and Youth Organizations

kids laying and laughing in the grass

After facing changes due to COVID-19 and returning to the new normal, making new friends is an important topic for many parents. So much so, PBS provided tips for parents to help their child(ren) make friends as children's social worlds are expanding again.

Luckily for parents and caregivers, there are several different afterschool programs, extracurriculars, and youth classes to help the social development of young children.

Consequently, this can mean a lot of competition for nonprofit organizations trying to get more members. This was the case for a recent project we conducted with a youth development and mentoring organization.

The youth organization wanted to learn more about caregivers of non-members within their target market to create a new strategic plan for increasing enrollment. 

Learn more about our approach to providing a data-driven solution to increasing the nonprofit's participation and membership.

The Challenge: Getting New Members for Kids' Extracurricular Activities

Recently, an organization that provides an afterschool extracurricular activity for children partnered with Drive Research to conduct a survey with caregivers of non-members.

The market research objectives included:

  • Understanding brand equity
  • How to best grow membership (particularly among those younger aged)
  • Delivery models (understanding what families want in terms of programs, in-person/virtual, etc.)
  • Diversity (understanding how needs may differ)
  • Matching offerings to community needs

💡 The Key Takeaway: Market research is an excellent way to gather information about a target audience. In this example, the research specifically targeted caregivers of non-members within the organization’s target geography. 

Recommended Reading: Nonprofit Branding: How to Better Understand Your Audience

The Solution: Using Surveys to Increase Signups  

To address the objectives, Drive Research conducted an online survey with caregivers of non-members within the target geographic region specified by the client.

  • The process begins with holding a kickoff meeting. During this meeting, the organization meets with the research team to discuss the goals and objectives of the survey.
  • The first survey draft is delivered roughly one week after the kickoff meeting. The client team can go through as many survey iterations as needed during this process. 
  • After the survey is finalized and approved, fieldwork for the survey begins. Fieldwork typically lasts roughly two weeks. During this time, the client is provided with a passcode-protected online report to provide access to understand how fieldwork is progressing.
  • Two weeks after fieldwork is completed, the report is delivered to the client. The deliverables included: 1) an online data portal with up to 5 cross-tabulations, 2) a comprehensive PowerPoint report (i.e., summary, recommendations, infographic, and persona), 3) a full data file in Excel, and 4) a 60-minute debrief on the results for Q&A.

In total, the survey took an average of 8 minutes to complete and included 32 questions. The survey received 250 responses, and fieldwork began on June 13 and lasted until June 22, 2022. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: The market research process is systematic and can be customized to meet the needs of any organization. 

Recommended Reading: What is the Market Research Process?

Example Membership Survey Questions

Below are a few example questions to consider if conducting a survey to grow membership for a kid’s or youth development program. 

  1. Are you the primary legal guardian for any children under 18 in your household? Select all that apply.
  2. Which of the following age groups best describes the ages of the children in your household? Select all that apply.
  3. Thinking about the children, which of the following activities have they been involved in within the past 3 years? Select all that apply.
  4. Are you aware of [insert organization]? Select one.
  5. Thinking about [insert organization], which aspects are you familiar with? Select all that apply. 
  6. What is your perception of [insert organization]? Select a rating.
  7. Why do you have a [selected rating] perception of [insert organization]? Enter your response below.
  8. Thinking about the children in your household in the following age groups, how interested is she/they in joining [insert organization]? Select one.
  9. Why is/are your child(ren) not interested in joining [insert organization]? Enter your response below.
  10. What would make your child(ren) more likely to join [insert organization]? Enter your response below.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Remember, the example questions below were crafted to meet the needs of a specific client and can be customized. Learn more about the science behind survey writing.

Results of the Membership Growth Survey

The results remain completely confidential with the youth development and mentoring organization, but the results did address each of the goals and objectives discussed during the kickoff meeting. 

Key findings featured in the membership survey results were:

  • Awareness: Detailed the level of awareness of the organization, how awareness levels change among segments of the population, and which offerings could benefit from increasing awareness.
  • Perception: Information about the perception of the organization, how levels of perception changed among segments of the population, and drivers of perception. 
  • Membership interest: Which segments of the population had the highest interest in becoming members, drivers of interest, and how to reach that audience 
  • Format of offering: What membership format is most preferred?
  • Volunteer interest: The level of interest to volunteer with the organization and drivers to boost interest.
  • Communication preferences: Details on how many have seen or heard of the organization in the past 3 months and preferred methods of communication.

💡 The Key Takeaway: The key findings from the research are designed to meet the goals and objectives outlined in the kickoff meeting. Each survey and report is uniquely customized to the client’s needs.

Conduct Non-Membership Surveys with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company, specializing in online surveys. We work with various industries, including youth and non-profit organizations.

Our team doesn't just deliver market research results but works with you to offer actionable recommendations that can help increase new enrollment and repeat registrations for afterschool programs.

To learn more about our services, contact our team today. 

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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