Researching “Future” Chapters

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One of PRSA’s many strengths is its unity of purpose — thousands of members contributing their time, contacts, thought leadership and passion in pursuit of a common goal to strengthen the public relations profession. Our unity does not signify uniformity, however; determining how best to assess, prioritize and assimilate the various opinions of our members is one of our ongoing challenges.


Over the past year, we have increasingly relied on formal research to help us solicit and evaluate member feedback and chart appropriate courses of action. Last spring, we surveyed our members to gauge their attitudes and beliefs toward PRSA National and measure their overall satisfaction with the membership experience. Our Professional Interest Sections are all now using research to refine their programs and product offerings, and we regularly poll our other member communities, as well. This blog, in fact, is the result of last year’s member survey — which revealed that our members wanted another forum to engage in a dialogue with PRSA leaders, exchange viewpoints and share perspectives.


A key takeaway from all of this research is the confirmation of something we’ve long known: our 109 Chapters are the backbone of PRSA, providing a more intimate and personal member experience and valuable connections to their local business and public relations communities. Understanding this, we now want to discover ways that we can work with our Chapters to help them make those local experiences even more rewarding and beneficial.


Accordingly, we are about to conduct our first all-Chapter survey, one of several major organizational initiatives we announced last year. The purpose is to identify, in a methodical, statistically sound way, which Chapters represent best practices in the area of service delivery, and who can serve as models for other Chapters to learn from and emulate. The survey will also gather important new insights into member demographics and salary information, which is information that we will be sharing with our members.


The results, including information specific to each individual Chapter, will be shared with Chapter leaders this spring. We also plan to present the results at our June Leadership Rally, which will give incoming Chapter leaders an opportunity to digest the results and trade ideas to take advantage of the findings.


Please take note that this survey is being launched today. The short questionnaire will require just 10 minutes of your time to complete, but holds the potential to deliver benefits throughout the life of your membership. Please watch carefully for our e-mail alerting you to the survey, and take the necessary time to give us your thoughts and feedback.


The cost of this study is being underwritten by PRSA National, with the help of Ketchum, author of our 2008 Member Survey, whose support we gratefully acknowledge — along with yours. Thank you for helping us improve our Chapter experience as we continue looking for new and better ways to advance the public relations professional and our profession.


William Murray is President and COO of PRSA.


About the author

William Murray


  • I think it is great that PRSA has decided to survey and evaluate the area of membership experience. This will help as PRSA considers new programs for future generations and makes any necessary changes. Furthermore, it is also important to know how the organization is viewed by those members with inside access. After all, a main component of the public relations world is image and the importance of other’s perceptions. I would agree that PRSA chapters provide meaningful experiences and connections. I would also add that it gives individuals the opportunity to learn more about public relations through those outlets and relationships with other PR professionals.

  • I am happy to see that PRSA is being proactive in using member feedback to improve our experience with PRSA and how we can benefit from being members. A team is just as strong as its weakest member, so I see this survey as a useful tool to build each PRSA chapter up in order for members nationwide to benefit. As a young person who will be a part of those future chapters, thank you for taking this step to improve PRSA for future chapters.

  • With the proposed survey taking place, I support the notion to better learn from fellow chapters what works well. Every member of the PRSA will benefit from hearing what others are doing in similar situations, thus giving them knowledge from prior experience. By learning from the past, one has the possibility to repeat the actions if they faired well, or avoid certain decisions if they proved to be unfavorable. Surveying members also lays the foundation for common ground amongst members, facilitating shared beliefs and protocol, improving the overall functionality of the PRSA.

  • I think it is a great and wise idea to evaluate the different chapters of the PRSA to make the best possible decisions for the future generations to come. The decision to do this can only help the students who are looking to better their futures in PR. I am glad that this is the time that they have decided to do this. Since i am a Senior next year it is encouraging to know that the PRSA is looking out for the best intentions of my generation and wants to make the PR perfesion one that is wonderful and is something that people want to strive for.

  • E-mail messages were sent to all PRSA Chapter members on March 17 and March 18 that contained a unique link to the survey. Reminder will be sent to all members today that will include the member’s unique link to the survey.
    If you cannot locate your original e-mail or do not receive today’s reminder, please e-mail me at and I will send you your link.

    Thanks to all who have completed the survey!

  • We have extended the deadline date for the Chapter Survey through Friday, April 24th. Now you have until April 24th to complete the survey and be entered in a drawing for Amazon gift cards, with a $250 card as the grand prize.

    If you are looking for your link to the survey, check your email for Tuesday, April 7th when we sent a reminder. If you cannot locate the email, please e-mail me at and I will send you your link.

    Thanks for all that have completed the survey!

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