WMUK membership survey - 2013 report

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Introduction:Wikimedia UK 2013 Membership Survey

The membership survey was conducted in late November 2013 for a two week period. It was sent to 237 email addresses, of which 102 opened the email and 57 people completed the survey. 54 respondents chose to fill out the follow-up demographics survey, which was anonymous.

User:Thryduulf has been the lead volunteer in relation to delivering the survey and the full report. He not only led the process of developing a better set of questions, taking the wording of the 2012 Membership Survey as a ‘jumping off’ point, but has also worked extensively on reviewing and analysing the full set of results. This report is intended to complement his report to highlight key findings and list the potential range of improvements of decisions that could result.

You can read the full report here.

A note on statistical significance

With small populations (in this case a membership of 237) the sample size needed for a statistically significant result is considerable (around 190 with a confidence interval +/- 3 and a confidence level of 95%) Obviously we did not achieve this and therefore results can be taken as a guide only. In addition, there will be a natural reporting bias, in that those who were most likely to respond may hold views that are somewhat different to those who are less likely to respond and so these are more represented.

The following changes will aim to improve this issue:

  • In running the mid-year follow-up survey is held in conjunction with the Charity’s AGM in August. A combination of email invitations and paper surveys at the event could improve reporting rates.
  • Continuing to seek better data to contact members is important - all members should be contacted by post requesting they provide a most up-to-date email address as this is the primary point of contact for the charity.
  • A concerted effort should be made to ensure that membership communications distributed through the charity’s database are not being registered as spam - whether by altering mailbox settings or the format and layout of mailings themselves.
  • The survey distribution should be broadened to include all identified active volunteers for the charity, with an option to indicate if the respondent is an active member. This would provide more insight through a broader pool, plus with appropriate opt-in allow the charity to invite non-member respondees to consider joining.

Report Highlights

Membership Survey 2013: Report highlights

The numbers in brackets preceding statements refer to the survey question number as indicated in the main report.

  • (1) 45% of respondees reasons for joining fell under ‘To support Wikipedia’ or ‘To support Wikimedia activities in the UK’
  • (2) People mostly joined because either ‘Attendance at a WMUK event (excluding AGMs)’ or ‘Hearing about WMUK on the Wikimedia projects ‘
  • (2) One commentator responded that they joined because of the ‘Fundraising drive on Wikipedia'. In terms of involvement, most people had attended events, interacted with other members and volunteers or staff members.
  • (4) In terms of positive feedback - face-to-face interactions, whether events or generally, were highly rated by respondents.
  • (5) However, in terms of negative feedback our online community was referenced many times as unwelcoming.
  • (7) Indicated in the ‘other’ ways that respondents would like to with WMUK was in-person opportunities to work together.
  • (9) Indicated that those who are persuaded to attend an in-person event, whether meetup or WMUK organised, were likely to have attended more than one.
  • (10) Feedback about events attended suggested some areas where the chapter may want to improve its offer. This includes trying to make the audience more diverse or reflected of the UK population generally, and ensuring that new people are welcomed.
  • (12) Feedback on event location indicated an interest in online participation.
  • (12) Appetite for event/outreach opportunities by location was strongest in London, online, then SE England and West Midlands. However it is likely this is a self-perpetuating cycle based on the most engaged members being respondents, and the majority of them living in these areas.
  • (12) Most respondents expressed a preference for a limited number of regions. The implication is distance to travel is a strong factor in event attendance.
  • (13) Awareness of events was a factor limiting attendance.
  • (14) There is a potential audience for specialist events, but currently there isn’t a function for collecting interests and then catering to those groups.
  • (16) Comments that members made about membership processing included; clearer confirmation of renewals, reminders about grace and expired status not hitting spam folders, delays in approval processes.
  • (17) Requests for improvement were heavily skewed in favour of being able to automate renewals, update details online and offer a clear induction process.
  • (18) Respondents were clear that they did not rate welcome gifts as important benefits to members. However, they highly valued the possibility of accessing paywall material to support editing activity, and then to some extent privileged access to WMUK events and a WMUK userbox.
  • (22) This indicated the newsletter had been well received, with informative and relevant information, but that it was felt more contributions from members would be welcome.
  • (26) Only 9% of respondents had applied for a microgrant.
  • (28) It would appear some respondents did not find the on wiki application process intuitive.
  • (30) Respondents felt that the Chapter website could include more information about the role of members in the Chapter, but other than that there was a roughly even split between those who did and did not think suggestions listed were important.
  • (32) We need a ‘ways to contact’ page or section of the Board page to make Trustees accessible - perhaps including what sort of queries they can handle as opposed to staff.
  • (33) We need a page describing the ‘role of members’ - preferably with diagrams etc!
  • (34) Members see their role as being to help promote the Wikimedia mission, and holding the Board of Trustees to account. Members do not see their role as being one of recruiting new members. This is a problem as the responses elsewhere indicate that most people sign up because of interpersonal contact. The Chapter needs to explore ways to promote recruitment as something members feel happy to do!

Recommended Improvements

  • Expand our recruitment to include online recruitment via Wikimedia projects
  • Ensure recruitment forms go to every single event held by WMUK.
  • Ask the WMF if a prompt to volunteer with Wikimedia UK can be added to the checkout/thank you pages for donations made by UK donors.
  • Put in place some standards that govern online behaviour on our wiki and any mailing lists we host.
  • The office must continue to flag up the ‘open-office drop in’ options and any other opportunities for members and volunteers to get together.
  • Look at formally reaching out to meetup groups and events organised by volunteers to make sure there is someone comfortable to act as ‘host’ and improve welcome and introductions to new attendees.
  • Reach out to members as a primary audience for the VLE offering editing and other contribution activity support online.
  • Continue to focus on delivering outreach in London, SE England and the West Midlands, and strategically focus on growing audience in other areas. Online is clearly the biggest demand area we do not currently serve.
  • Place more emphasis on the volunteer expenses policy or grants to support attendance in its communications with members.
  • Create a simple push mailing list or RSS feed for people to subscribe to as a simple fix. Consider further developing into outreach strands e.g. ‘Education’ ‘GLAM’ ‘Tech’ etc.
  • Create a series of interest categories volunteers could complete and be stored in their record.
  • Include a link in the footer of all volunteer communications letting people know they could suggest topic focuses or venues to support with events.
  • Automate renewals, update details online and offer a clear induction process.
  • Re-explore accessing paywall material to support editing activity,
  • Discuss privileged access to WMUK events, such as early opportunity to register
  • Flag up the availability of the WMUK userbox.
  • Promote the microgrant facility more heavily with members.
  • Consider making application for grants more intuitive with a webform to express interest, so that chapter staff or volunteers could offer support to develop ideas into applications.
  • Create a ‘ways to contact’ page or section of the Board page to make Trustees accessible - perhaps including what sort of queries they can handle as opposed to staff.
  • Create a page describing the ‘role of members’ - preferably with diagrams etc!
  • Explore ways to promote recruitment as something members feel happy to do.

See also