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President’s Report

Survey Says… 

If you were around in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, you probably remember that infamous line, “Survey Says…”.  This catchphrase was coined by the late Richard Dawson, who first hosted the popular game show “Family Feud,” as he revealed the results of a poll of 100 people who responded to a question and contestant families had to guess the top answers. And so it is with the recent 2019 membership survey conducted by the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) when we asked the main contacts at our contractor members to give their answers to a myriad of questions—from three words that best describe AFSA to the reasons why their company belongs to the world’s largest association representing the voice of the merit shop in the fire sprinkler industry. 

As a result of the survey, the AFSA Board and staff learned a lot about our contractor members. (Don’t worry… a custom survey is slated to go out to our Designer members and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) members, and one previously went out to Associate members, too!) A sincere thank you is in order to our respondents, who took time out of their busy schedules to give feedback to their Association. Your input is vital in helping provide direction as AFSA embarks upon a journey to ascertain the perspectives, thoughts, and ideas from our members throughout North America.

Now it’s your turn to discover what the “Survey Says…”

  • Four out of five of our contractors said industry information along with having access to AFSA Engineering & Technical Services Department’s informal interpretations are equally important reasons why they initially joined. 
  • A whopping 97 percent indicated that AFSA’s educational programs are among the top reasons to belong, followed closely by apprentice training. Other key reasons (in order of frequency mentioned) are:  legislative “merit shop” advocacy, business solutions, and networking opportunities.
  • More than 90 percent said that AFSA meets their needs, with over three-quarters of those indicating their needs are being met “extremely well” or “very well.”
  • The top three words to describe AFSA are:  educational, informative, and knowledgeable. Other top words include:  helpful, training, advocate, professional, and organized.
  • Most popular program or benefit used during the past year? Sprinkler Age magazine, with four out of five indicating they read it. Second place: webinars followed closely by technical services. 
  • Over half of respondents indicated they attended an AFSA Chapter meeting in the past 12 months.
  • More than 70 ideas were offered by our members as to how to make their membership even more valuable. (These have been shared with our Membership & Chapter Development Committee, Board, and staff.)
  • Nine out of 10 respondents indicate they are “very likely” or “likely” to renew their membership next year. 

By examining the information shared by our contractor members (which will be augmented by subsequent findings from custom surveys directed to our other membership categories), we will use this valuable insight, along with additional input derived from upcoming 20/20 strategic planning sessions, to create an Association “makeover” to make data-driven decisions to optimize YOUR dues dollars. Based on your input, we’ll re-examine our vision, mission statement, and value proposition to ensure that both AFSA and its charitable foundation—the Center for Life Safety Education (CLSE)—are aligned to lead.

Based on member feedback, our job at AFSA is threefold:

  • (1) to help you solve the problems that you face in your work,
  • (2) to serve you better by providing enhanced value, and
  • (3) to build on the principles of the merit shop movement for the betterment of the individual, the fire sprinkler industry, and the nation.

It will take time, money, and—most of all—your support and our collective momentum to get us where we need to be in the next decade and beyond. 

While we hope to talk personally with you during AFSA38 in San Diego, October 1-4, please know that our doors are always open to hear what you have to say. Feel free to stop by our Dallas headquarters, call us at (214) 349-5965, or email our team at info@firesprinkler.org. Hearing what our members have to say is not only something we say we do, it’s something we live by. And we cannot act, until we listen. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debra McGuire,  MBA, IOM, CAE, is President and CEO of the American Fire Sprinkler Association.


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