Membership Survey 2023

Survey Narrative and Synopsis

The survey ran from July 26th and ended on August 18th 2023.

At the time of the survey, we had 440 members and 285 responded to the survey. This is an exceptionally high response rate of 64% (average for Survey Monkey is 30%).

Overall impression of the Society

  • On most questions, the “agree” choice range was very high (61%-85%) and the “disagree” choice range was minimal (0%-5%) which implies a generally “happy” membership.
  • The top five scoring areas by members were:
    • The quality of content delivered in lectures is good (86%)
    • The lecturers we use are good (84%)
    • Annual membership cost is good value (82%)
    • The academic level of lectures is good (83%)
    • What’s included in membership is good value (78%)
  • Reading the individual comments throughout the survey shows quite a wide diversity on points made, perhaps because of the small membership.

About our members

  • Over half have been members for over 5 years – less than 10% have joined in the last year:
    • 38% joined via associations with Birkbeck.
    • 41% joined after recommendations by friends.
  • Members were attracted to the Society:
    • 92% art history interest.
    • 65% thought academic quality would be good and 44% lectures would be good.
    • 45% attracted because of London venues.
  • In terms of age and status, all our members are over 30:
    • About 84% consider themselves to be “retired” and only 16% are between 30-65.
    • No member (who answered) is under 30.
  • In terms of their ability to attend:
    • 66% are flexible about the time they can attend.
    • 71% live in an area covered by London public transport.
    • There was an even mix of responses (51%/49%) as to whether they would attend in less expensive venues outside central London.

That said:

  • 13% have cost issues with transport to an event (i.e. would like to travel off-peak)
  • 20% have difficulties attending due to commitments or are busy during the day.
  • 69% prefer to attend in person rather than 31% for Zoom. 38% were attracted by the social aspect of live events, yet 31% were positively attracted by online events.

Costs

  • In terms of membership and events costs:
    • No-one said to drop the membership fee altogether.
    • 45% said the balance between costs of membership and events was good. If costs had to increase, (52%) thought costs of events should increase, (48%) would rather the membership fee increase.
    • Overall, 37% said they would be prepared to pay more for membership and events.
    • In order to retain live lectures, 81% said they were happy to pay more for live events than for Zoom events.
  • In terms of what to do if events had low numbers and weren’t going to cover their costs:
    • 67% said it should be continued and moved online.
    • 21% said reschedule and increase costs.
    • 11% said cancel and return the money.

Content

  • In terms of general preferences for in-person events versus online events:
    • 70% preferred one-off Lectures to be delivered on Zoom.
    • 91% preferred Study Days to be delivered in person.
    • 79% preferred Courses to be delivered in person.
  • The five highest “more of” subjects were:
    • Early Modern (85%)
    • Architecture (84%)
    • Medieval, Byzantine (80%)
    • Renaissance (80%)
    • Nineteenth Century (74%)
  • The five highest “less of subjects” were:
    • Performance Art (71%)
    • Realistic (arts and crafts etc) (67%)
    • Cinematic art (66%)
    • Early and Primitive (57%)
    • Music (53%)
  • In terms of alternative activities:
    • 84% were in favour of visits for art and architecture.
    • 58% were in favour of guided tours and walks.
    • 35% were in favour of guided holiday tours.

About our infrastructure

  • In terms of our members experience of our web and online services :
    • The website had a 95% score (Easy 61%, OK 34%)
    • Finding information had a 97% score (Easy 61%, OK 37%)
    • Email newsletter had a 97% score (Easy 65%, OK 32%)
    • Paying for membership had a 95% score (Easy 58%, OK 37%)
    • Renewing membership had a 96% score (Easy 58%, OK 38%)
    • Booking and event had a 94% score (Easy 61%, OK 33%)
    • Payment for booking had a 91% score (Easy 59%, OK 32%)
  • In terms of electronic payment systems (Q19):
    • Credit card via PayPal (68%)
    • Paypal (17%)
    • Direct Debit (10%)
    • 11 people (or 4%) can’t use online payment.