2023 Member Survey
GUARFS member insights survey—you answered and we are listening.
In January and early February 2023, the Georgetown University Association of Faculty and Staff (GUARFS) put out a survey, the second survey in our history, to retirees to accomplish the following:
- Get a better understanding of the demographics of our retirees;
- Find out if and how they valued engagement with GUARFS and why they might not participate;
- Learn what kinds of activities they would like GUARFS to provide; and
- Determine how to best communicate with them.
GUARFS is grateful to the 126 retirees who took the time to respond to the survey. What we learned will help us better serve our retirees and improve the way we operate.
Who responded to the survey.
In 2017, the Association expanded to include all faculty and staff retirees from the Medical and Law Centers as well as the Main Campus and University Services. Responders to the survey reflect the growing effectiveness of this expansion. Responders were as follows:
- Main Campus 77;
- Medical Center 27;
- Law Center 13; and
- University Services 9.
They identified as coming from the following groups:
- Faculty 66;
- Staff 40; and
- AAP 20.
What we learned about our retirees.
The mean number of years worked at Georgetown was 29.2 with a range of 10-50. So this group has invested many years in supporting the University. Twenty-five had been retired only one year, 42 2-5 years, 34 6-10 years, and 22 for more than 10 years. Twenty-one of those responding are still working for Georgetown. The mean age of those responding was 67.1 with a range of 59-88 years. Finally, 27 were also alumni of Georgetown.
Responders overwhelmingly listed receiving information and notices about events and courses by email as the preferred mode of communication (71%). A little more than half listed the bimonthly newsletter and only 8% used the website as a primary mode of learning about GUARFS and its activities. Most said they preferred monthly communications followed in numbers by when there are upcoming events. The topics of most interest were: information about Georgetown University; information about upcoming GUARFS events and information about retiree benefits. About half of the responders had visited the GUARFS website and those who did said it was useful to them.
Current and desired programs
When asked what types of activities appealed to them (from a set list), responders most often chose as a first choice a virtual book club (43%). Lunch and learn activities and service projects with GUARFS were also frequently chosen (25% and 20%). There was also considerable interest in group travel, mentoring current students and alumni, and virtual wine-tasting or cooking experiences.
About half of the responders said they had not engaged in any GUARFS activities. Reasons cited included: not interested in what is offered, time constraints, health, and distance.
Likelihood of recommending GUARFS to other retirees
One of the questions asked how likely a person was to recommend GUARFS to others. In the marketing world, this leads to what is known as a net promoter score. Our score was 6.3 out of 10. It is possible, then, based on scores to divide the responses into those who actively promote GUARFS (41%), those who are termed passive—not active promoters, but not detractors (29%), and detractors, those who would not promote GUARFS to others (30%). In order to guide our future, we wanted to know more about each of those groups. What we learned is that those groups were not differentiated by whether they were faculty, staff, or AAPS; by which campus or part of GU they spent their careers, or whether they were alumni.
Factors that did differ by level of promoter scored included:
- Number of years retired (the longer responders were retired, the more likely they were to be promoters). The lowest scores were from those retired only one year.
- Participation in GUARFS events was related to the level of promotion. Of those who had
participated in our events, 58% were promoters, while of those who had not participated in our events only 11% were promoters. Most of the detractors said they were not interested in what GUARFS offered, didn’t participate due to geographic distance, or didn’t know about events.
- Sense of connection to GU was a third difference. Those who were promoters rated their sense of connection to GU much higher than detractors and also rated their desire for connection to GU much higher.
Implications and next steps for GUARFS
So, first the good news. 1) Those who are engaged with us like what we do and would recommend GUARFS to others. 2) A large proportion of the retirees responding feel connected to GU and would like more connection. 3) Our communication strategy seems to fit what responders want. 4) A significant proportion of retirees are also alumni.
Now the challenges.
- We need to find a better way to engage new retirees and increase involvement and willingness to share positive feelings about us of those whose scores put them in the “Passive” group in terms of promoting GUARFS;
- We need to create new activities that responders indicated an interest in;
- We need to further engage retirees who do not live in the DC metro area.
GUARFS will work to implement the following:
- Increase efforts of our membership committee to reach out to new retirees and communicate the benefits of engaging with GUARFS. This will also include an “onboarding” process for new members to make them feel welcomed and help them connect with activities that are of interest to them.
- Create a system to communicate with retirees who do participate to make them feel more connected and to learn about their interests.
- Implement activities noted in the survey as of interest to many retirees who responded including a book club, group travel opportunities (with partners), continued monthly events (lunch and learn virtually), events that include wine and food learning, opportunities to mentor or support current students and alumni and group service projects.
- Increase collaboration with other groups in the University, particularly the Alumni Association to serve our retiree alumni more effectively.