CEO Update Q1, 2018: SEGD Membership Satisfaction

Read what Clive Roux, CEO of SEGD has learned about SEGD members satisfaction with their association

Who is SEGD today?

Back in 2012, membership was skewing older, as are all associations today.

However, today, over 50 percent of SEGD members are under 40 years of age, 47 percent are millennials and baby boomers make up only 19 percent. Currently, women account for 48 percent of membership. SEGD’s demographics are strong!

Over the past five years, the SEGD board and staff have been focused on revitalizing your association with the goal of becoming more relevant in the digital age. We’re well on the path of innovating the association experience having established a continuous cycle of annual upgrades. But would members say they are satisfied with the changes?

To that end, several weeks ago members were sent a satisfaction survey and asked for their feedback as the CEO and board evaluate the success of the present SEGD Strategic Plan and begin work on the new five-year plan. There were already some strong internal approval indicators, including growth in: membership, event participation, listserv participation and visits and page views on

SEGD's demographics are looking very healthy.

No other design association has grown at anywhere near the rate that SEGD has over the last few years. Some have shrunk by almost a third, while SEGD added over 75 percent more members since 2012.

That fact was reflected in very robust participation in the Satisfaction Survey. In fact, 574 (26 percent) of SEGD’s more than 2,200 current members responded. In addition, 174 lapsed members responded to a separate (similar) survey. Thank you all so much for your feedback. As a user-centered, design-led association, your input is the most important component in our decision-making process.

Results of the 2018 SEGD Membership Satisfaction Survey

Of current responding members, 74 percent said that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with SEGD versus 58 percent the last time we measured in 2011. The percentage of members reporting “very satisfied” has more than tripled since then, to over 21 percent.

Not one person reported that they were “very dissatisfied” at this polling and the number who answered that they were “dissatisfied” dropped by 70 percent. The 2018 survey results certainly exhibit a positive trend.

SEGD's satisfaction survey results 2018

Which programs do the community value the most from SEGD? Here are the top three:

  • SEGD events (the smaller focused one-day events and the annual conference)
  • The website
  • Chapter (local) events


We know there is still work to be done. Our goal is at least 80 percent of the community reporting satisfaction with their association—with the understanding that, due to the breadth and varied interests in our community (one of our strengths), we will never please everyone all of the time.

Perhaps the most surprising result was the responses of the lapsed members, which hint at the main area of improvement for SEGD. The surprise was that the percentage of “very satisfied” lapsed members (19.5 percent) was so close to the percentage of current members (21 percent). 

A total of 30 percent of lapsed members were “satisfied” with SEGD. Contrary to our assumption, people do not always lapse because they are dissatisfied. Together, almost 50 percent of lapsed members were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied.” Lapsers leave the association for many reasons, but dissatisfaction is not the main one today.

Among the lapsed members group, “better information on best business practices” was the most sought-after content from SEGD. Best business practices are not something we had focused intently on in the past, but we learned how important it is to the community last year and have been actively working on improving our resources in that area.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to sign up for the Management for Designers event in Chicago, April 27!

In both the member and the lapsed members survey responses, we received great detailed feedback on what the community finds unsatisfactory. Things you would like us to improve upon were (ranked according to the number of comments):

  • More local events
  • Requests for specific content
  • Costs
  • Website improvements
  • Networking opportunities


SEGD members love connecting at local events and tours of new cities

Our biggest challenge remains our size, or lack thereof! We are tiny compared to other design communities, making it difficult to meet the needs of all our members dispersed throughout the world, especially physically (i.e. networking opportunities). For that reason, we have had to be more innovative, looking for ways to improve our local and global presence, content and networking opportunities—and that means doing it in low-cost digital ways.

The support and honest feedback of the community continually propel the organization forward, helping us to apply our very limited resources to creating the most value for our members.

Thank you for providing encouraging and clear feedback for us to work with on the next phase of improvements to SEGD.


View or download the full report.

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Upcoming SEGD Events

2023 SEGD Academic Summit
2023 Wayfinding and Placemaking
2023 Experience Washington D.C.