3 LeadingAge State Partners Win Member Survey Competition

Members | October 02, 2019 | by Geralyn Magan

The winning state partners will receive a host of prizes at this year’s LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO in San Diego.

LeadingAge Gulf States, LeadingAge Virginia, and LeadingAge California will receive a host of prizes at this year’s LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO in recognition of their members’ robust response to the LeadingAge Member Survey, which closed at the end of August.

  • LeadingAge Gulf States achieved an 80% response rate, the highest among a group of 9 of LeadingAge’s smaller state partners.
  • LeadingAge Virginia attained a response rate of 75.74%, the highest among a group of 18 medium-sized state partners.
  • LeadingAge California stood out among a group of 11 of LeadingAge’s largest state partners, with a response rate of 45.22%.

Secrets To Success

All 3 state partners point to 3 factors that contributed to their success in mobilizing members to complete the survey: persistence, a personal touch, and weekly reports from LeadingAge National that helped them track which members had completed the survey and which members had not.

Melissa Andrews, president and CEO of LeadingAge Virginia, says her staff sent weekly emails to members that hadn’t started the survey or had completed only part of it. When Andrews noticed that members affiliated with a multisite organization were not responding to the survey in great numbers, she went straight to the corporate office and asked for help.

“This experience taught me that it is not enough just to send out a link to a survey,” she says. “We have to personally reach out to our members and explain to them why this is important, how we are going to use this data, what the benefits of it are, and what could be the unintended consequences if they don’t participate.”

Response to the survey among members of LeadingAge Gulf States was lagging until President Karen Contrenchis asked LeadingAge National to send members’ individual survey links to her so she could pass them on personally to members that had not yet completed the survey.

“It is all about relationships,” says Contrenchis. “I have a very, very close working relationship with my membership. … I knew if I had the links and I sent out the emails, we would get a greater response. So that’s what I did.”

All 3 state partners followed up on their email outreach by phoning members that had not yet completed the surveys. LeadingAge California saw numbers rise after team members made about 100 phone calls to multisite organizations and free-standing members.

Throwing Some Friendly Competition Into The Mix

The turning point in the survey process for Andrews—and, she says, for many other state executives—came in July 2019 when participants in the State Executive Forum in Denver received an up-to-the-minute summary of the survey response rates in each state.

“If the survey was not on your radar screen back home, it gets on your radar pretty quickly when you’re sitting together in a room and you see the numbers in black and white,” says Andrews.

The sizable package of incentives also impressed state executives, she says.

In addition to recognition at the 2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO in San Diego, each of the 3 winning state partners will receive LeadingAge meeting registration certificates, a roundtrip airline ticket to the Annual Meeting, a complimentary hospitality suite in the meeting’s host hotel, and a complimentary dinner for LeadingAge state staff attending the meeting.

Each state partner will also be treated to a celebration luncheon for staff in their home state, and a presentation on the survey results by Dr. Robyn Stone, senior vice president of research at LeadingAge and co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.

Both the competition and the prizes helped to energize team members at LeadingAge state partners. Andrews reports that she “had no idea how competitive this team is. And that was actually really fun.”

Jeannee Parker Martin, president and CEO of LeadingAge California is already making plans to use the competition’s prizes to celebrate her team’s success in mobilizing so many members to complete the survey.

Contrenchis admits that the prizes didn’t play a big role in the Gulf States survey campaign. But a different kind of competition certainly did.

“I told my members that this was something that was really important, and it would be really nice if we could come in first one time,” she says. “And they loved it and became more involved in the process.”

Expecting Benefits From The Survey

With almost 50% participation among LeadingAge California members, Martin is looking forward to receiving “valuable information about our members and their needs. … The more data we have about services and residents, the better advocacy we can do in Sacramento and in Washington, DC,” she says.

Andrews and Contrenchis also expect the survey data to inform their advocacy efforts. But Contrenchis is looking for another, additional benefit.

“The second thing I want to know is whether there is anything I can do to serve members better, anything I’m missing or that needs to be addressed,” she says. “That will be good to see.”

Finally, Andrews says her team has already gained 3 important benefits from the survey process: an appreciation for the strong partnership between LeadingAge National and its state partners, to which she attributes the survey’s success; increased member engagement in a strategic effort, which she hopes will help bolster future state efforts; and increased team confidence.

“The survey gave our team the confidence to know that we can go up against anyone if we put our minds to it,” says Andrews. “It’s not about beating other states, it’s about knowing that there is power in our passion and in our purpose. If we harness that, is there anything we can’t do?”

Read more about how LeadingAge Gulf States, LeadingAge Virginia, and LeadingAge California engaged members in the LeadingAge Member Survey.