At its meeting on 28 Oct 2017, the Group Management Committee explored whether it might be possible to improve the engagement between the Group and its Members. The idea emerged that it would be useful to establish the current baseline through a survey.
The survey was electronically distributed and amazingly, it attracted 177 survey respondents in two weeks: two respondents represented institutional Members, 104 were individual Members and 71 were non-Members, mainly members of our Facebook Group.
A wealth of interesting data emerged that the Committee will use to review the Group activities in the months to come.
The majority of respondents do not use English as their first language of communication, and while the working language of the Group is English, we will strive to provide content in accessible terminology, and use multilingual content on online platforms. The geographic distribution of respondents is extremely diverse, with the majority of respondents coming from the UK, US, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, South Africa and Italy. The Committee will look at establishing national representatives who could engage with (potential) Members in their countries.
To reflect its international membership, the Group has been renamed into ‘International Geraniaceae Group’, as was announced in the Winter 2017 Newstletter, and other changes will follow in the near future.
It appears that the interest in Geraniaceae steadily increases with age, with the proportion of Members younger than 30 being only 4%. It is laudable that there is a generous proportion of mature Group Members, who bring experience and expertise, although the Group will also look at how to attract new members through its website and social media channels. It is also very encouraging that the Group engages very well with collectors with long-term experience of 20+ years. It would seem that the interest in the plant family requires a long time to mature, and the Committee will look at promoting interest in Geraniaceae more broadly.
A good 90% of Members are interested in the genus Pelargonium, 45% in Sarcocaulon, ~40% in Geranium, ~30% in Erodium and 25% in Monsonia. About 90% are interested in species, and slightly less than half in primary hybrids, with less than 40% interested in hybrids and cultivars more generally. It is excellent to see that the mission of the Group corresponds to the interests of both current and potential Members.
The Committee was particularly interested to hear that the Members would appreciate to continue to receive the printed Newsletter, but would also appreciate to have access to digitised past issues – we will endeavour to make this possible in the future. Many of you are also interested to write more for the Newsletter, which is truly excellent. The Members appreciate Group activities in the following order (from most to least appreciated): (i) Seed Exchange, (ii) Newsletter, (iii) Facebook Group, (iv) Website and Forum, (v) Meetings. The website appears not be used actively and many expressed the wish for this to be redesigned, which is now in the process.
The Committee listened to these messages carefully and will shortly be launching a new website, so please bear with us as we embark on this complex project. We will also look at how the Group meetings could become more accessible and have started to look at online delivery, with a (partly successfully) remotely delivered meeting on 28 Oct.
We are extremely grateful to our extraordinarily engaged Members and for your honest and useful feedback. The Group would be nothing without its Members, and we will continue to strive to carefully listen to your feedback.
Your International Geraniaceae Group Management Committee.