Letter from the President
As the year comes to a close, it's a good time to update AAPOR members on the exciting and important activities of your association.
I'm happy to report that AAPOR is doing very well on a number of fronts.
Our Membership and Chapter Relations Committee, headed by Kelly Foster and Joe Murphy, reports that AAPOR's membership reached an all-time high of 2,400 members this year, over 100 more than at the same time in 2009. Record-setting membership, coupled with our all-time high attendance at the AAPOR annual conference in Chicago last May, suggests that our association is providing a needed, valuable and important function as it represents the nation's public opinion research professionals.
AAPOR remains on solid footing financially. The Association is operating in the black in 2010, and expects to continue to do so next year. The 2011 budget has been developed over a period of months under the leadership of Secretary-Treasurer Barb O'Hare, and Associate Secretary-Treasurer Joe Lenski, with the expert guidance of Executive Director Susan Tibbitts and her team. The budget was approved by the Executive Council two weeks ago. Despite the difficult economic times, which have affected almost every element of our society, AAPOR's financial situation is stable. Our association's leadership continues to focus on its responsibility to be exemplary fiscal stewards of your membership dues and our other sources of income.
Along these same lines, the AAPOR endowment committee, headed by Dawn Nelson, is working hard to ensure AAPOR's financial future by focusing on donations from members and supporters. You recently received an e-mail asking for a contribution. Please think carefully about directing some part of your yearly non-profit donations to AAPOR.
Conference Chair Rob Santos, Associate Chair Dan Merkle and the whole committee have been hard at work planning and preparing for the next Annual Conference on May 12-15 at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. Several of us conducted a site visit to the Grand Resort this past summer. It appears to be an outstanding venue - complete not only with a golf course on premises, but with an amazing water park, lazy river and a multi-story water slide. The meeting facilities are everything we need to support an outstanding conference.
The Conference Committee reports a robust response to the call for abstracts, equaling last year's record numbers. The program is shaping up to be one that will provide very significant contributions to our profession. If you haven't already done so, please mark the dates now on your calendar. We look forward to seeing you there.
AAPOR's Communication Committee, led by Jon Cohen and associate Rich Morin, is hard at work on a number of fronts, including intensive efforts to revamp the AAPOR.org website, and to zero-base a review of the way in which AAPOR members can communicate; i.e., AAPORnet 2.0. AAPOR's Blue Book is now online, providing an interactive, search friendly and easily accessible guide to anyone looking for the very best in survey and public opinion research services. Please avail yourself of the opportunity to use these Blue Book listings. Companies pay for the listings, and the best way to ensure a continuing high level of interest in supporting the Blue Book is for you to use it.
AAPOR's new strategic plan, as developed under the leadership of Councilor-at-Large Roger Tourangeau, has been officially approved. The plan represents a major forward thrust by your association. Work is already underway on several of the key initiatives outlined in the plan. One of these is a top to bottom review of the way in which AAPOR is organized, including the composition of the Executive Council. Former AAPOR President Mark Schulman and former AAPOR Conference Chair Patricia Moy are heading up a newly formed Governance Task Force that will engage in this review. Among the recommendations contained in the Strategic Plan is the need for systematic input from members and former-members on the current and future objectives and actions of the association. Naturally enough, this will involve a survey of both groups - scheduled for next fall.
The AAPOR 2010 Cell Phone Task Force Report, based on outstanding work by Chair Paul Lavrakas and an all-star committee of experts in this area is complete. This is a very important review of all available evidence and data on the impact, now and in the future, of cell phones on telephone based sampling frames. I am asked frequently how polling organizations are dealing with the situation in which a growing percentage of the population uses cell phones and has no active landline. I am happy to be able to report that AAPOR is fully cognizant of these changes, has been assessing them for a number of years, and has now completed its second in-depth, scientific investigation of the cell phone situation in today's environment.
AAPOR has a new Task Force on Public Opinion and Leadership. This Task Force, headed by myself and Robert Shapiro, will be evaluating the broad context in which public opinion is, or is not, used by leaders in contemporary society as a significant input into policy. This review will include both philosophic and practical dimensions of the interplay between the views of the public and what is enacted in the public's name by elected representatives.
Vice President Scott Keeter and Past President Peter Miller are continuing to develop the framework for AAPOR's Transparency Initiative. This is one of our most important short and long term objectives. Thanks to those AAPOR members - including the Standards Committee headed by Reg Baker and Tim Johnson - who are already working hard to bring it to fruition.
Our association is governed by an extremely hard-working group of volunteers who are elected to the Executive Council each year. Preparations for next year's elections are now underway. This year the process of soliciting nominations for Council and developing the best possible slate of candidates to present to the members for election has been revised substantially. Under the direction of Past President Peter Miller and AAPOR Executive Director Susan Tibbitts, new procedures have been developed which will expand the universe of those who consider serving on the Executive Council, allow for a wider scope of soliciting nominations, and in general provide mechanisms for making sure that the best possible potential leaders are presented to members. The response has been robust, and I'm sure that we will end up with a superb slate of AAPORites who are committed to serving their association and profession.
I believe that our chosen field of work - public opinion research - has never been more important. AAPOR continues to be the flagship association dealing with the quality, integrity and use of public opinion research in this country. Thanks to all members for your continuing support, which has been and will continue to make our organization so viable.
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