Membership Survey - Strategic Planning For The Future

By Lisa Hollett 
Special Programs Coordinator, International ACAC 

In May, we undertook an ambitious project, a Strategic Planning Survey of all International ACAC members. The survey was sent to our over 2000 members, and we received over 700 responses. Hopefully, you took the chance to let your voice be heard!

A number of our questions focused around our annual summer conference, and the results were illuminating. Over 50% of you attend the conference for the networking opportunities, but professional development opportunities are also very important, with discussions of new trends in Admissions garnering almost 10% of the vote.

As anyone who has attended the conference in the past can attest, the size of the conference has grown tremendously in the past few years. When asked if we should increase the size, our membership is split (51% voting to increase compared to 49% voting not to do so) on the question of increasing the size vs. leaving it the same. Members with less than five years’ experience make up the bulk of those in favor of increasing the size, whereas those who oppose the increase are relatively evenly divided among tenure periods. High School members are the largest group opposing an increase in size, while the responses that favor growing the conference are almost even between Colleges and Universities and High Schools. In terms of desire to attend should the conference grow, almost 80% of you are still interested in joining us annually if we go bigger.

With growth comes financial implications, and the responses to the question of increasing the cost of the conference are as evenly split as the question about conference size. If the conference cost increased, 51% of members could still attend, but 49% might not, making this a weightier issue than whether to grow the conference. The High School constituency would be most directly affected, with 55% of this group possibly unable to attend should the costs go up.

Not all of our data was objective. We wanted to know how you felt about a number of key issues, and we appreciate your candor.

Things that you feel we do well are always nice to hear, and responses to this question are pretty straightforward. You like the conference, the organizational networking opportunities, professional development and training, webinars, the authentic connection between high schools and colleges and universities, and our ability to bring people around the globe together.

We are already hard at work on the top ways you want us to improve: increased space at the conference, more events throughout the year, more diversity—especially within leadership, and increased opportunities to participate and be heard with a focus on newer and younger voices.

Answers to the question of what more we can offer as an organization were similar. More webinars—especially at more varied times, more regional networking events with a focus on events held outside the US, more available resources online, including topics such as credentialing, scholarships, industry developments and trends, and best practices.

We read every single response, and we appreciate your taking the time to complete the survey; you will continue to see surveys as we undertake new projects or consider new initiatives. Please be sure to respond; we want to make sure EVERY voice is heard. Thank you so much for your valuable insights!