By Amy Roady, AAEA membership committee chair
As a membership organization, AAEA values the feedback from our members. On February 9, we considered your thoughts as members of the AAEA Membership Task Force pondered future membership options for our organization.
Based on the recent member survey, membership categories matter. Of the 56 members who completed the survey, more than one-third indicated they would be in favor of removing membership categories. This, and other feedback got us thinking, and talking, and working on ideas that best serve our members, both now and in the future.
Normally a lot of us deal with words, in fact the survey confirmed that, but here are some numbers to ponder:
Who completed the survey:
- The most active voice in the survey were active members, (37%), followed by freelancers (28%) and affiliate members (21%).
- About 45% of people worked for a publication, and 96% of those accepted paid advertising.
- More than half of the participants had 20 years or more experience.
- Educating farmers was the content goal for more than 90% of participants, but 40% also said informing the general public about agriculture.
- The top categories for work were: writing, reporting and editing; photography and videography; public relations and media relations; and social media.
What we heard:
- Members are open to new membership categories.
- It’s important to maintain the core active journalists as members and serve their needs.
- Membership categories are not clear, especially for people who both communicate with farmers through their association or company publications but also communicate with non-farm audiences about what farmers do.
- Freelancers are valued members of the organization, but have different needs to consider.
- Transparency in leadership and membership are important.
- When asked who they are most comfortable serving in a leadership role, the most popular choices were:
- A senior editor at a traditional ag magazine (94%)
- An issues reporter for a publication owned by an ag organization (87%)
- A freelance writer who works both for ag publications and public relations agencies (73%)
- A university news and communications writer (67%)
- A graphic designer for an equipment company owned magazine (65%)
During the next four to six weeks, the Membership Task Force will convene and develop a recommendation for the AAEA board to consider during its April meeting.
Your opinions matter. We need your feedback to keep this organization strong and relevant to our members. We’re focused on what’s happening now, but also on what will happen in the future. If you have any ideas or thoughts about the membership categories, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or any members of the AAEA board or membership task force. The membership task force includes Amy Roady, Julie Deering, Christy Lee, Mike Wilson, Gregg Hillyer, Greg Horstmeier, Martha Mintz, Josh Flint and Joy Crosby.