On the QT | The Official Newsletter of GWA February - March 2017 - Page 21

Membership Survey Reveals Insights on Growth , ROI

BY JO ELLEN MEYERS SHARP
Professional development and networking are the primary reasons people join GWA and why they remain members .
Those are among the findings of the 2016 Membership Satisfaction Survey , where 206 out of 1,232 members , or nearly 17 percent , participated . The full results of the survey can be found on the GWA website .
“ The membership survey will be done annually , which is in keeping with the best business practices ,” said Maria Ungaro , GWA ’ s Executive Director . “ The survey tells us what members are feeling and allows us to take the pulse of what ’ s going on .” Here are some highlights :
• 38.9 percent said professional development was the primary reason they joined GWA , and 27.1 percent said it was the reason they continue their membership .
• 37.4 percent said networking was the primary reason they joined GWA , and 42.9 percent said it was the reason they remain members .
• On a scale of 1 to 4 , with 4 begin the highest , the top five benefits valued by members are : Conference & Expo , 3.32 ; free admission to public gardens , 3.18 ; membership directory , 3.08 ; Quill & Trowel ( On the QT ), 3.06 ; regional meetings , 2.98 .
• On a scale of 1 to 4 , with 4 begin the highest , respondents rated the cost of GWA membership at 3.02 , and the value at 3.42 , when compared to other communications and green industry organizations .
• 82.2 percent of respondents are on Facebook ; 30.3 percent on Twitter ; 28.1 percent on Pinterest ; 27.6 percent on Instagram ; and 40 percent on LinkedIn .
• 81.9 percent of respondents said they found the level of correspondence from GWA is satisfactory ; 8.5 percent said it was too much , and 1.5 percent said it was too little .
Networking is one of the key reasons people are GWA members , according to the survey .
• 94 percent said they planned to renew their membership ; 6 percent said they would not .
“ It ’ s wonderful to see our members enjoying what they get from GWA . The satisfaction level and the fact that 94 percent said they planned to renew are unprecedented for our group ,” said Kirk R . Brown , GWA President . “ With so many happy customers that seem thrilled with the amount and types of services our organization provides , why do we not have twice the number of members ?”
In the hopes of bolstering our ranks , the board has put forth March Membership Month , and the request for members to bring in at least one new person or company to GWA , he said . ( See page 20 for details ).
Brown and Ungaro said that the results were informative and the only concern was the demographic makeup of GWA ’ s membership . Not only does it skew older — 41.4 percent , 55 to 64 years old ; 29 percent , 65 to 74 years old — the organization is 94 percent white .
“ The lack of diversity was discussed at the January GWA board meeting , and the membership committee is working on a plan to address this concern ,” Brown said .
Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp is editor of On the QT .
Networking under the Palms
GWA members visited the Montgomery Botanical Center in Coral Gables , Florida , a renowned display and research collection of 30,000 palm trees , including many rare and endangered species from all parts of the world . The former home of Col . Robert Montgomery has become the centerpiece of this 120-acre estate . This was where GWA was treated to dinner while seated on a veranda overlooking the grand lawns , allee and waterway .
About 50 GWA members participated in the Florida Nursery , Growers and Landscapers Association tour and Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in South Florida in January 17-19 . Members were escorted to several unique public and private gardens , including The Kampong , where the groups sampled Cuban pastries and coffee ; Patch of Heaven Gardens , where the natural hammock topography is being restored ; and R . F . Orchids Inc ., where third-generation owner Robert Fuchs R . F . Orchids Inc ., where third-generation owner Robert Fuchs gave a tour of his garden and retail orchidarium . The group had lunch at Costa Farms trials gardens .
It was a 15-hour marathon tour , organized and led by GWA members Jennifer Nelis and Sylvia Gordon of FNGLA .
PHOTO COURTESY KIRK BROWN
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