By Jim Folger, Goals & Research Committee Chair
In November of last year, the Goals & Research Committee was asked to help complete a survey of chapter members to answer questions on a variety of topics to help in establishing future direction for the chapter. The last complete general membership survey was completed in 2014, and we have added many new members since that time, suggesting the need to update members’ thoughts.
The survey was sent out to 263 members, including the Spring Class of 2018, using Mail Chimp. A total of 101 people completed the questionnaire, which represents a 38% response rate.
This response rate is considerably lower than the 66% recorded in 2014 Membership Survey, and well below the 50% response in the 2015 Communications Survey. Nevertheless, the sample size is enough to provide an accurate gauge on members’ opinions.
The following presents the results of the survey in Findings and Implications grouped into three categories: Chapter Finances, Chapter Meetings, and Volunteering. The Implications presented here are the collective opinions of the Goals & Research Committee (Whitney Wolf, V. Rose Mercer, Russ Olivier, Joe LaBay, and myself). They are recommendations presented to the Board for deliberations in planning and future decision-making.
One-half of the membership agreed to raise dues by $5, and 47% agreed to raise dues by $10 per year. Some 28% of members agreed to a $15 increase, and 9% would find any raise unacceptable.
2. Awards Dinner Charges
Charging members a $10 fee and charging guests $15 were both acceptable to over half of the respondents. The “Voluntary Contribution” was acceptable to 38%, and only 10% said “None” of the options worked.
3. Potluck Dinner
Substituting a potluck dinner for a catered dinner is acceptable to fully 82% of members, with 57% saying “Very Acceptable” and 28% saying “Somewhat Acceptable.”
4. Raising Dues versus Raising Dinner Charges
When given the preference for raising dues or charging for the dinner, both are acceptable choices to 42% of respondents. Raising dues works better than dinner charges at 31% versus 24% respectively.
Implications: Raise dues by $10 per year to $40 and change to a potluck Awards Dinner format.
1. Video Recordings of General Meetings
On balance, making video recordings of General Meetings was “Not Very” or “Not At All” valuable to 59% of the respondents.
Implications: Making videos of the General Meetings was not supported by the majority of the membership.
2. Monday and Wednesday General Meetings
Three quarters of the respondents said it was “Very Acceptable” (34%) and “Somewhat Acceptable” (41%) to alternate between Monday and Wednesday. This is a 14 percentage point increase over the combined “Acceptable” responses (61%) from a 2016 Survey.
Implications: For 2019, experiment with a format of alternating between Monday and Wednesday General Meetings.
3. Sunday 4 PM General Meetings
A total of 44% of the respondents said it as “Very Acceptable” (24%) and “Somewhat Acceptable” (20%) to have a Sunday Meeting. Fifty-six percent found Sunday to be ”Not Very Acceptable” and “Not At All Acceptable.” It should be noted that this question was very specific on timing, so response may not be completely representative of acceptance of Sunday meetings.”
Implications: The majority do not like the idea of having Sunday meetings.
4. More Rigorous AT
A total of 26% of members would like more rigorous academic presentations at the General Meetings. Thirty-eight percent said “ No,” and 36% “Don’t Know.” The high percentage of “Don’t Knows” indicates that a definition of “rigorous” may be needed.
Implications: No action required to make the programs more “academically rigorous.” However, it is worth perusing the verbatim responses to this question for new ideas on future presentations.
4. Food at General Meetings
Almost 2/3 (64%) of members say it is “Not Very” or “Not At All” important to have food at meetings. This is a dramatic turnaround from the 2014 survey results when 73% thought it was “Very or Somewhat Important” to have food at the meetings.
Implications: Stop the practice of having members contributing food to the meetings. Adopt a brown bag format for those who wish to bring something to eat.
1. Signing up for New Class
Some 23% of respondents agreed that they signed up because of the educational component but don’t have time to volunteer.
Implications: While the majority of new class students sign up with the intent of volunteering, there is still close to a quarter of the class who are in it for the education. This suggests the opportunity to further raise new class fees to match the value of the education experience provided.
2. Information on VH opportunities
Fully 80% of respondents said it was “Not at all difficult” to obtain information on volunteer opportunities that are available.
Implications: No action required.
3. Opportunities for volunteer projects
A resounding 94% of respondents said “Yes” there were enough good opportunities for volunteering.
4. More Big Chapter Projects (BCPs)
More one-time BCPs were favored by only 37% of members in order to help them get their volunteer hours on the weekends.
Implications: For the present, two BCPs on Saturdays per year is sufficient.
5. Number of volunteer projects members are involved with
The preponderance of members (56%) are involved in 3-5 volunteer projects each year. Another 24% are engaged in 6-10 projects, and 18% in 1-2 projects.
6. Opportunities for AT
Almost all members (97%) say there are sufficient opportunities.
Implications: No action required.
7. Using the ntmn.org website
A total of 71% of members are “Very Comfortable,” and another 22% “Somewhat Comfortable” using the website to get information.
Implications: No action required.
8. Reasons for becoming less active in the chapter
Forty-four percent of respondents said there was “No reason” to become less active in the chapter. Some 27% said they would like to attend general meetings, but the times and locations are prohibitive. Twenty-two percent said they were “too busy at work,” and a related 17% said “no time to volunteer.” Also, 16% said “there are more important things I want to do with my life.”
9. Interest in attending a State Conference
There is a surprisingly high interest in attending the annual state conference with 57% saying they are “Very Interested.” Another 28% say “Somewhat Interested,” and only 14% showing little interest. Additionally, 54% have not attended a state conference, while 30% have attended 1-2, 11% 3-5, and 5% 6-10 conferences.
Implications: With the 2019 State Conference being held in Rockwall, and NTMN being the host chapter, there should be a record number of members attending. Consideration should be given to providing some scholarships to those who have not attended a state conference in the past.
Final Question Responses
Forty respondents provided additional thoughts on the chapter that are worth reviewing for good ideas. There appears to be no real thread of consistency in the comments.