Friday, 15 August 2014

Gail Dever survey discovers why genealogists leave societies

With more than 300 people having answered Gail Dever's recent survey family history society management should pay attention to her finding that "the top reason people decide not to renew their membership has less to do with networking with people and learning from other genealogists and more to do with what they receive for the cost of their membership."
That leaves lots of room for interpretation and her further analysis helps. A member's perception of the value proposition in their membership depends on what they want, which will depend in turn on their experience and approach - are they scrap-bookers, authors, looking to extend a lifetime of work experience for societal benefit, to get completely away from the area they worked in, looking to access others experience or hard to find resources, or maybe just comradeship around a common interest? There's more. A challenge for society boards is to find something for them all, or to deliberately decide what areas not to cater to.
Read the results of Gail's survey at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The number 1 reason for leaving a local society was:
1. There was little value offered for the cost of the membership fee.

This suggests two values were being compared: value offered and membership fee.

But the survey apparently did not parse that further.

How much value did individuals think they got from the society, that is, what would be an appropriate fee?

If a member perceives say a $30 benefit, but the fee is $60, then it is logical they will quit. If the fee was $30, they would retain their membership.

Many members renew their membership almost automatically, without doing this analysis. But when the fee is increased, even if just by a little, they are likely to re-evaluate the benefits of membership and some will decide that the benefit didn't even match the previous fee.

So raising fees will trigger a number of members to leave because it causes them to re-evaluate the benefit they receive. At some point, raising fees may actually reduce society income, so it should be done cautiously, if at all.

If society income is less than expenses, maybe the society should look first at reducing expenses.