Royal College of Anaesthetists

Membership Engagement

Case Study

Comprehensive engagement to gain an in-depth understanding of membership profile, perceptions and value of the services provided.

Royal College of Anaesthetists

The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) wished to improve engagement with its membership and move beyond a more traditional College/Member relationship in order to create a broader and in-depth understanding of their members and to establish a better two-way communication and feedback channels, and an even more member-centric led organisation.

MES was appointed to undertake a comprehensive study of the RCoA membership in order to establish the key membership profiles, evaluate the perceptions of the membership and services provided and recruit participants for further, long-term engagement work via an online panel.

How we did it

MES was commissioned to undertake all aspects of the project from research design, planning, scripting, communications, and field management to analysis and reporting.

To kick start the engagement, MES conducted an online quantitative survey among approx. 17,000 members with a valid email address. A thorough, yet engaging survey across eight different areas of interest was designed to answer the key objectives and evaluate RCoA membership. The MES research team used their experience and expertise to ensure that the survey would capture a detailed overview of the members’ profile, behaviours and perceptions whilst remaining professional, inviting and easy to complete from a respondent’s point of view.

As the first comprehensive membership study of this kind undertaken by the RCoA, a multichannel communication strategy including tailored invitation and reminder emails, social media and website publication was employed to best engage with members and maximise the response rate.

This carefully designed approach helped to achieve an impressive 31% response rate with a robust and diverse spread of responses among the RCoA membership.

A detailed final report and supplementary slides were produced to summarise the key themes, challenges and issues in a visually appealing and easy to digest manner whilst providing all necessary details and findings.

As a result of the survey, over 1,700 members have been recruited to join the first RCoA online panel.


The survey provided the College with an in-depth understanding of their members, and a real insight into their perceptions of the College, likes, dislikes and suggestions for improvement.

The key findings offered an invaluable insight into members’ opinions and experiences, enabling the College to better understand how its members and evaluate the current benefits and services offered.

The results will be shared with key stakeholders across a wide range of departments within the organisation, as well as the wider membership. The findings will enable the College to make strategic decisions about the nature and format of the membership offering, including how the organisation can best support the profession in future, whilst improving member engagement.

MES will continue to collaborate and support the College with management and research for the newly recruited 1,756 member strong online membership panel. 

The MES team was instrumental in helping us achieve an impressive 31% response rate for our first-ever membership survey. Nick Goodman and Mallory Amsden were highly committed and proactive throughout, expertly project managing and delivering all aspects of work from research design to analysis and reporting.

Kathryn Stillman - Director of Communications and External Affairs, Royal College of Anaesthetists

In 2015 the RCoA started to explore how it could connect better with its 17k membership. After a competitive tender process, MES was appointed to assist the College with a range of tools and services to help shape a ‘21st Century membership service’. Phase 1 in 2016 commenced with a full membership survey exploring a range of views and emotions about the College.  MES provided, designed and advised on the entire exercise and we were ecstatic in achieving a 31% response. This is exceptional for a survey of this scale and format, and showed us and the College that there is a real appetite amongst the membership for meaningful engagement. 

Phase 2 will see us help the College develop a more regular dialogue with the 1700 participants who said they wanted to be part of a new Member Panel; and MES looks forward to helping the RCoA design and implement their new membership strategy.

Nick Goodman - Managing Director