2020 Member Survey Results

First off, THANK YOU to all of our fantastic members who filled out our membership survey.

We wanted to close the feedback loop and let you know what we learned and how it is informing our path forward. All of the quantitative data analysis was done by Ali Gully and was presented at the Steering Committee’s strategy session on September 20, 2020.

Highlights:
We targeted current members of AFAN with active memberships via email. We had a very high level of engagement with our members as our open rate (between 31 – 51%) of our three emails outpaced the industry standard. From there we had a 22.6% return rate, which is within
an acceptable range of return.

All of our questions were formulated around our new pillars of excellence: networking, civil rights, value of astrology, and education. We also targeted three main identifications of astrologers: student, working, and avid.

Our demographics showed that the majority of our members lived in the United States, were primarily English speaking, and identified as working astrologers. We also broke down the top astrological specialities/modalities that each group identified with.

Top 10 Astrological Modalities by Astrological Identity

Working Astrologer (60) Avid Astrologer (12) Student Astrologer (8)
Psychological

47

9

3

Predictive/Forecasting

38

6

6

Modern

36

4

2

Electional

34

4

0

Traditional

31

6

6

Horary

31

5

5

Archetypal

31

5

4

Hellenistic

22

5

5

Mundane

27

5

2

Evolutionary

25

4

2

Limitations of the data set include self-limiting categories, response rate, and similarities between some categories (e.g. Traditional, Hellenistic, Renaissance or Business/Stock Market being related).

The United States was highly represented with 75%, followed by Australia and Canada both at 7.5%. Likewise, English was the most preferred language with over 93.75% followed by Spanish (2.5%) and French (2.5%), German (1.25%) and Italian (1.25%). These trends continued through the additional languages spoken.

Limitations of this data set include the qualitative/written in portion of this answer as many individuals could identify multiple languages. It should be of note we do have members who speak ASL, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, Czech, Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, and Hindi Sanskrit.

We have many resources for International outreach. We also have some members with a robust sense of humour claiming that Astrology is their first language and others are fluent in Scorpio.

Preferred pronouns were also a question showing how AFAN embraces gender diversity and inclusion. 5% (4) indicated they preferred They/Them. It is important that AFAN highlights inclusion in their outreach.

Needs Assessment

In doing a needs assessment, we asked the members to rate how the organization was meeting their needs with each pillar of excellence.

Networking Summary: AFAN is better at meeting the needs of our working and student astrologers, but needs work on outreach to the avid astrologers. The majority identified they used the AFAN website, Town Halls, IAD, and Discussion Groups in that order of preference. Limitations of this category include the year of the survey. 2020 has precluded most in-person events and engagement has been shifted to virtual platforms.

Civil Rights Summary: In this area, AFAN is meeting the needs of the working and avid astrologers, but are not meeting the student’s need. The identified civil rights tools used were small as most (86.6% of total respondents), did not use the avenues provided. Advocacy is typically used when needed, but not as an outreach. It is of note that AFAN is the only astrology organization with this branch for assistance with local laws for practicing astrology, payor issues (e.g. Stripe), and referrals for legal assistance.

Value of Astrology Summary: Members ranked AFAN as neutral to positive on a Likert scale (3-5) even though a strong majority of respondents do not use these services either. This may suggest either a lack of promotion of such services like Media Watch and ANS, or that technology has outpaced the need for them. In the day and age of the internet, news spreads rapidly and responses are instantaneous. It is reasonable to consider that the bylaw tenants of AFAN and Media Watch have perhaps outgrown their original need due to technology.

Education and Training Summary: This was the one area where needs assessment and areas for growth were combined as it is our newest pillar. The quantitative data showed that overall, AFAN was not meeting the needs of the community in its current state. 60.3% of respondents rated a low to neutral (1-3 stars). This seems to be an area of potential high growth. While Education and Training are in-demand services for AFAN, it is quite evenly split between:

An Online Library, A Monthly Lecture Series, Mentoring Program, Scholarships, Research, and Astro-Business Training, with an AFAN Journal, Research, Conference/Symposium, and Astrology Classes only falling a little behind. However, an online library, the mentoring program, and a monthly lecture series run across all three astrological identities showing that those efforts would meet their needs. The Steering Committee has a difficult job figuring out where to put their energies. It would be my recommendation to look at what could distinguish AFAN between other organizations in their offerings within each category.

Channels for Outreach

The survey also asked how its members preferred outreach. The categories of social media channels were pre-selected based on research of the most utilized channels world-wide. The majority of respondents indicated that YouTube was their preferred social media platform they access for astrology. That is a channel that AFAN is not currently on and it shows an opportunity for engagement. AFAN is currently on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter which were the other top 3 preferred social media channels. It should be of note that 5% of our respondents do not use any social media at all, but are connected via email. What is puzzling is the disconnect about the way AFAN’s members prefer accessing quality education. Here, it shows that the majority prefer reading articles/books/journals. This is a marked difference between the visual platform of YouTube. Perhaps the big difference is in the word “QUALITY”. While people maybe looking to interact on YouTube and Facebook, there is weight in the print or reading modality of learning. AFAN’s Steering Committee needs to take these learning style preferences into account when developing content and in which mode. Data Limitations: An obvious limitation is the n=80. The response rate is below 30% thus it is not known if any data hold statistical significance. We also do not have an existing data to compare for trends either historically or across organizations. 2020 has also provided unusual circumstances limiting our reach. The qualitative analysis has not been completed yet through coding and additional quantitative analysis which could provide additional insights and rich information. Time constructs between the researcher’s personal demands, volunteer hours, learning a new system of Airtable, and time limitations (aka 7 days) for the report are also considered.

Implications and Conclusions

1). Quality does not equal quantity. While the majority of our members find YouTube to be a resource there is a gap in what they consider to be quality education. However, YouTube is a very underutilized way of outreach and connection.

2). The majority of AFAN’s membership value education and training and feel this would be a useful pillar to develop especially in the areas of reading (books/articles) and development of an online library. Other areas to consider would be a monthly lecture series and a more robust mentoring program. These areas are indicated across all astrological identities.

3). Media Watch and ANS are not considered value-added programs. It may be useful to update the bylaws and purpose to reflect the advancement of technology.

4). Networking is still a core function of AFAN and needs to be prioritized. The AFAN website and Town Halls are highly prioritized and utilized by our membership. These need to be a priority for development. Many props should be given to our long standing Community chair (totally biased remark by the author).

5). Psychological astrologers are a core part of our membership expertise. The student astrologers are heavily weighted to the traditional and hellenistic modalities. This is reflective of the trends in the larger community outside of AFAN as astrology has changed through the ages (e.g. 1960s psychological influence to Project Hindsight to Chris Brennan’s influence). This data is also supported by the prevalence of scholarship applicants to more traditional astrology programs and schools in 2020. Forecasting and Prediction interests are also highly represented.

6). Civil Rights is an area that is on the brink of evolution. The quantitative data is mixed showing that we are currently not meeting our membership needs across the identities; however, there is a lot of qualitative input that needs to be catalogued and analyzed.

7). In strategy development, it should be clear that AFAN’s basic tenets of community and equality are considered. Discernment of skills for teaching or mentoring do not equal promotion of a particular astrologer or school. Open access to any of our services and equal opportunities for participation is key. By connecting others we are operating under networking and connection.

The qualitative feedback was used to inform the Steering Committee’s retreat to work on the vision and goals. The initial meeting was held on October 4th and is an ongoing process.

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Alicia

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