The NZIAHS Council was pleased with the response to its first online survey, designed to better understand how members access NZIAHS online and the ways in which the institute can adjust to future requirements.
The survey received 75 respondents and – with 80% of them over 45 years of age – was reflective of our membership demographic.
Given that this was a web-based survey it was not surprising that 93% of respondents have used websites. Social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn were used by half our respondents while the NZIAHS blog and Twitter were accessed by only 23% and 14% respectively. This suggests that while these are good sources of information they need to be better utilised and possibly better integrated into our online media and website.
Facebook is utilised by 100% of members under 35 who answered this survey and is therefore an important way to build our brand and encourage future members.
The NZIAHS AgScience magazine and emails were most read by members but many people also followed the website (35%). Many of the current members valued the website as a link to AgScience (70%) but also as a way to keep up with information about events and awards. Modernising the website to enable regular updates and information loading is therefore important to maintain this relationship with our current members.
Younger members (under 35), while reading AgScience, did not utilise the website, blog or LinkedIn. Updating and linking these different media therefore provides an opportunity to increase our exposure with a younger audience, particularly linking our website to Facebook. Younger members also liked the link to AgScience and event diary but also valued award information, past NZ Horticultural Science Advancement Trust Reports and the colour of the website!
When asked about possible website functionality members prioritised the event diary and AgScience magazine, but also wanted a search function, a membership database, a members- only section with extra information, award information and online payment. Younger members rated event diary and award information as most important, but it should be noted they rated everything as fairly important.
While survey respondents were widely distributed members under 35 who answered this survey were only from three areas, Otago, Manawatu and Auckland.
The NZIAHS thanks everyone who took the time to fill in the survey, gave it their valuable opinions and thereby helped shape the future of the organisation.