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Member Survey Results

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In January 2012, 85 members completed our member survey.

Firstly, I'd like to thank each of you who took the time to complete the survey - your comments and opinions were instrumental in assisting the board in making decisions about moving forward with a few key issues that were on the discussion table.

Amongst the issues the board was seeking advice: Future directions for the AWAre magazine; whether membership should be opened up to allow men to join; and a potential adjustment to our name.

Whilst 85 members is just under 50% of our membership and thus, may not be 100% representative, it does give us a good snapshot of who our members are and what they want

The survey asked questions covering demographics, reasons for joining and maintaining members, and opinions on future directions.

A quick run through for of our membership demographics:
  • The majority of survey respondents are 25-25 years old and have been members for2-5 years.
  • Nearly 35% of our survey respondents find the AWA less than 6 months from arriving to Melbourne; whislt nearly 20% weight 2-5 and another 20% 5+ years before joining
  • Neighbors and colleagues are the #1 way people find out about the AWA.
  • 79% of survey respondents have no plans to move in the near term.
  • 60% of our members currently work or go to school and 37% do not.
  • The majority of our members have young children, though another quarter have adult children and another quarter have none.
  • 80% of our members are currently married (~57% to Aussies) and nearly 1/2 of us came to Australia to be here with an Australian.

Reasons for joining and member activity:
  • New members were mainly interested in joining the AWA for our activity groups, to meet other Americans and to celebrate American holidays.
  • For those that renewed their membership this year, whilst activity groups and American connections remained important, the friendships that they'd created and the connection to volunteering (especially at the RCH) grew in importance.
  • On a positively note 77.5% of our membership intends to rejoin in August 2012 and the majority of those that are unlikely to continue are so placed because they are planning to move.

Key issues:
  • AWAre magazine: Only 5% felt that we should maintain the magazine as it is, with the others split in results and many comments around combining the options (i.e., bi-annual issues + more robust Stars & Stripes)
  • Allowing men to join: Responses to this were passionate, as expected! Whilst nearly 50% are 'extremely supportive' nearly 35% are either 'extremely unsupportive' or 'unsupportive'
  • Name change: Whilst 50% are supportive, another 25% are extremely un - or unsupportive.

After weighing in member opinion, the board has decided to make the following adjustments:
  1. For now, the AWAre magazine will cease being produced 6x a year and will rather be reduced to 2 issues per year. It is planned for these to be printed ~April and October and will include a member directory included in them.

    In conjunction with this decision, more information will be fed to our membership through Stars & Stripes e-newsletter. The new website allows us to create these 'news' articles - which means the data will also be available at all times on the website.

  2. For now, membership will remain closed to men. Though there was considerable interest the idea of allowing men to join (nearly half were 'extremely supportive') because 1/3 of the membership were unsupportive of the idea the board has decided to shelve the idea and potentially revisit it at a later date.

  3. For now, the AWA will remain the American Women's Auxiliary. Whilst >%50 supported the idea over 25% were unsupportive. Thus, this too, will be set aside for the moment.
For those interested, you can download the full compilation of survey results at the bottom of this article.

Please note that I have chosen to include the full comments provided on the survey - partly to show the breadth of opinions across our membership as well to potentially act as thought starters. It's interesting that some feel they can't get involved because fundraising meetings are 'all held at night' when others use the same excuse because they are 'all held during the day'!

You will note that many comments are very favourable and others show clear areas where we can make improvements. The upshot of a survey like this is that it gets people involved in the dialogue and to (hopefully!) assist the board to make better decisions

If the survey has sparked an idea, comment and/or encouraged you to get more involved, please let me know.
You never know where you next great fundraiser or activity group idea will come from!