Associations can use focus groups as a valuable research tool. They are often used to test new initiatives or concepts with a sample group of members before rolling them out to the association. Before your association dedicates the time and resources to a focus group, be sure to review our five tips:
State your goals
It’s important that you are clear about what you want to accomplish with the focus group before you start the project. Get input from key decision makers and use their input to structure the development of the focus group.

Assemble a representative group
For the results of the focus group to be valid, be sure that the focus group is representative of the demographics of your membership. If the average age of your membership if 50 for example, the focus group should not be made up of a handful of 20- and 30-year-olds.
Listen and watch
Whether you conduct a traditional in-person focus group or one of the newer online groups, really listen and observe your group. If you can watch the group live or via video, look at the body language of the participants. See what you can learn from these behaviors because this will not be captured in the transcripts.
Generate conclusions
Review the dialogue from the focus group with relevant parties. Discern the consensus of the group on the topics discussed. Ask if the feedback from the group is in line with your assumptions. In some cases another focus group might be conducted to affirm the conclusions from an initial focus group. Present these conclusions to the decision-making group.
Implement the recommendations
The feedback from the focus group should help your association feel confident in its related decisions. If you are uncertain about how to move forward with the recommendations generated by the focus group or need some additional consultative help, contact us.