By Adam Safir and Nancy Whelchel

Well, it’s a GREAT time to be writing about “Membership,” since membership in AAPOR is at its highest level ever: 2,193 members and growing!  This represents a 15.5 percent increase over the membership total at this time last year. 

We’re pleased to report that our new members, as well as those who are renewing their membership, are now receiving a “welcome letter” within about one week of joining or renewing -- instead of the previous one month (or more) turn-around.  We think little touches like this will help bring our new members into the fold more quickly, and ultimately improve our retention numbers -- something we’ve been studying and hope to improve upon.

In addition to thinking about retention issues, your Membership and Chapter Relations Chairs are hard at work on recruitment.  Following up on the recommendations of the 2006 Long Range Planning Committee, using the results from the 2006 Membership Survey, and working with the Strategic Marketing Committee, we are pondering how much growth is too much growth, and what “smart” growth really means for an organization like AAPOR.  With respect to growth, we’ve recently targeted two areas in particular:

  • Students – We created a Student Liaison position to help us recruit new student members and keep them engaged and active.  Matt Jans (University of Michigan), as AAPOR’s very first Student Liaison, maintains a listserv for survey methodology students, and helps to organize special events at the Annual Conference geared to our student members.  Also look for an announcement from Matt in the coming weeks congratulating the winners of the regional chapter student paper competitions, who will all receive an invitation to present their winning papers at the upcoming Annual Conference in
  • Regional Chapter Members – We know this is going to be unbelievable to most of you, but there are actually members of the regional chapters who are NOT members of National.  Recognizing the enormous contribution that so many regional chapter members make to the National organization, we’re continuing a special first-year introductory rate for chapter members who have never been members of the National organization.  The special introductory rate is only in effect until January 31, 2009, so PLEASE spread the word if you know someone who qualifies.  We’d especially love to see new members from the regional chapters at the Annual Conference in May.

We also continue to update the website with content of interest to members.  We recently made a Conference Attendee List.  Check out this document to see the full list of conference attendees from the 2008 Annual Conference, as well as the 349 organizations represented at the conference.  The Membership Research page may also be of interest; with findings from the 2007, 2005, and 1996 membership surveys (including full reports, frequencies, and open-ends) there’s bound to be something for everyone!

Otherwise, BIG THINGS are coming.  Look for a brand new AAPOR Booth with completely redesigned AAPOR brochures to debut at the Annual Conference this May!