On March 14, the American Philatelic Society (APS) released the results of its recent survey, which saw participation from more than 3,000 APS members and 800 non-members, offering insight into what collectors want from America’s national stamp club.
Last November and December, the APS sent a questionnaire to members, former members and non-members in their database using Survey Monkey.
Avidix Research Director of Research David Paddock, who’s also a long-time APS member, analyzed the results and authored the report.
According to the APS Blog, Paddock also volunteered to lead focus groups at StampShow 2016 in Portland, Ore.
The stated objectives were to explore new concepts to grow membership as well as provide updated data from a previous survey of members’ collecting methods and preferences as well as measuring the degree of participation in APS services.
This was the first survey performed by the APS since 2006.
Among the key takeaways is a desire among survey participants to see greater education services provided on-demand through the APS website.
CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
According to the survey report, a more rigorous education program may enhance APS membership; however, the following considerations should also be made:
• the program cannot be one size fits all and must be designed around collector level (see pages 23-30 and 41-42);
• exhibits seem to be a major attraction and may benefit from more pre-show publicity (see page 14);
• likewise, socialization rated strongly, and these aspects may benefit the organization as the APS may want to include more social events in their program (see pages 9-12);
•people will drive more than 320 kilometres but generally not fly to an APS show suggesting that locations of events must be selected with this in mind;
• it will also be beneficial to select locations with a high concentration of APS members within 320 kilometres of the selected location (see pages 17-19);
• a premium membership is an idea worth exploring in more detail, especially if a premium membership can keep regular membership costs at existing levels (see pages 44-51);
• the APS should consider ways to enhance and better publicize the StampStore. However, the circuit program needs serious re-evaluation as to how it functions (see pages 52, 81);
• a specialized journal also is an idea worth investigating further, especially targeted to advanced collectors, so the APS may want to consider folding the Philatelic Literature Review into an advanced journal, or perhaps a specialized journal could be a profit centre not unlike the Philatelic Literature Review independent of membership (see pages 56-58);
• the APS may want to better publicize the World Series of Philately with the objective of clearly stating they are national shows that attract a large number of dealers and high-quality exhibits (see page 16);
• online editions of The American Philatelist, while popular, may lead to discontent when the membership cost is not reduced as much as expected, if reduced at all, so to avoid the online edition from backfiring and costing membership, managing expectations will be paramount in introducing an online edition (see page 58-59);
• offering new and re-joining members a discounted on-demand course on buying and selling may attract new members (see page 29); and
• more than half of the collectors start before age 10, emphasizing the importance of youth philately, and then resume collecting between the ages of 30-59, so this suggests the APS would benefit by targeting collectors in their 30s rather than waiting until they are older (see page 91-95).
“There are some great insights into how our members and the collecting community at large view APS services,” said APS Executive Director Scott English. “We have some work to do to better promote some services, like expertizing, circuit sales, and the library, and make sure they meeting the needs of our members.”
For more information, visit stamps.org/userfiles/file/reports/Survey-Report.pdf.