Engaging our members: Results of the 2017 Member Engagement Survey

At the beginning of March, the International Health Section sent out a membership engagement survey put together by the Membership, Communications, and Global Health Connections Committees. The survey was sent out over the APHA Connect e-mail listserv and individually to all members who provided an e-mail address with their APHA member profiles. We collected responses for approximately three weeks and closed data collection after about three weeks, on March 25.

Thank you to all who responded! We have been working to analyze the data and discuss the feedback we received. We want our members to know that we are taking this feedback seriously and actively working on changes to our communications and approach to member engagement in response. We hear you loud and clear!

A summary report of the survey responses and the committees’ action plan are included below. You can access this report, as well as an Excel spreadsheet and a Tableau workbook summarizing the survey response data, in the Section’s library on APHA Connect. (You will need to log into Connect using your member ID, so be sure to have it handy.


2017 Member Engagement Survey Results: A Summary
April 21, 2017

Methods
On March 6, a 19-question member engagement survey was sent out over APHA Connect and individually to all members included on the March 1 roster provided by APHA. Of the 2,368 members, 43 did not list an e-mail address, and 61 e-mail addresses were invalid, meaning that the survey link was sent to 2,264 recipients. We received 230 responses between March 6 and March 25, a 10% response rate.

Overview
Of all survey respondents, nearly two-thirds (62%) listed the IH Section as their primary affiliation, compared to 38% with IH as their secondary Section. By membership category, 43% were regular members (full, discounted, or affiliate), 33% were students, 18% were Early Career Professionals (ECPs), and 6% were retired. Primary members (62% of respondents vs. 45% of all members) and ECPs (18% of respondents vs. 11% of all members) were over-represented among survey respondents. Most (86.5%) indicated that they intended to renew their APHA membership.

Consistent with overall membership data, nearly half (45.5%) of respondents had been members for less than a year, and an additional 28% had been a member for 1-3 years. The most common reason listed as the primary motivation for joining APHA was networking (48.7%), followed by professional collaboration (“to connect with other researchers/professionals to collaborate on studies/projects,” 21.3%). Nearly a quarter of respondents indicated that they joined to either attend (13.5%) or present (11.3%) at an Annual Meeting.

Committees and working groups
Members were given the opportunity to indicate if they were interested in learning more about the Section’s committees and working groups, and to provide their e-mail address for the chairs of their selected committees and working groups to reach out to them with information on how to get more involved. Committees that generated the most interest among respondents were Advocacy/Policy (36.5%), Mentorship (23%), and Program (21.3%). Working groups with the largest number of interested respondents included Global Health Connections (46.5%), Maternal and Child Health (27.4%), and Community-Based Primary Health Care (25.7%). Committee and working group selections were not mutually exclusive, as respondents could indicate multiple committees and working groups in their form response.

Communications
Survey respondents seemed to be largely unaware of the Section’s communications platforms. Among the four platforms in the survey, awareness of APHA Connect (https://connect.apha.org) was highest (38.6%), followed by the quarterly Section Connection newsletter (33.1%), the Section’s social media channels (30.2%), and the blog/website (https://aphaih.org, 28.8%). Respondents were most likely to actively read the newsletter (20%) and follow the Section’s social media channels (8.9%).

Discussion and follow-up
The general tone of most of the responses was that members want to get more involved but aren’t sure how, and that our communications channels are not advertised well enough. The Membership, Communications, and Global Health Connections Committees have developed a list of action items, found on the next page, to address the needs indicated by the survey responses.

Action Items

Completed items

  • Distribute e-mail addresses of respondents who were interested in committees/working groups to the respective committee/WG chairs (March 27)
  • Share initial survey results with the Section leadership (March 31 conference call)
  • Make survey data and results analysis available to members in the following formats (April 21):
    1. Written report
    2. Spreadsheet
    3. Dashboard
  • Publish the results of the engagement survey on the IH Blog and the APHA Connect listserv (May)

Ongoing items

  • Include links to APHA Connect, the blog, and all social media channels on all newsletters
  • Promptly send out welcome e-mails to new members when the Membership Committee receives new rosters

Items in development

  • Publish the results of the engagement survey for all members in the Section Connection newsletter (July)
  • Create a checklist for members and present it as a 6- to 12-month program to acquaint them with the IH Section and APHA (June)
  • Host a short webinar to “tour” our social media channels, APHA Connect, old issues of the newsletter, and leadership contact information (August)
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