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2019 AIA UK Survey / Improving our Communication Streams

Fiona Mckay

The 2018 AIA UK Chapter Survey produced some interesting comments all around, including many positive and/or constructive ones that the Board will be addressing during 2019.  However, there were also a few surprising responses to questions on our Newsletters, Blogs and Social Media that deserve more detailed attention.

From the AIA database of members and friends, the Survey produced 47 responses. Of these, a disappointing 19% were not aware of our Newsletters and Blogs and a corresponding 17% never read the articles (‘I didn’t know it exists’ / ‘I don’t believe I have access’ / ‘Blog? Newsletter?  Do I get them?’, were among the Survey responses).  

It is – of course – one’s choice how often to read or whether to read or not (‘There’s enough content in my inbox already, thank you’ says one responder), but the question remains – what can the Chapter do to improve overall communications?  

It did not take long to discover two major reasons members are not receiving the Newsletter. First, it appears our email mailing list is not fully and automatically coordinated with our membership database and some members simply did not receive the emails.  This is a technical problem that is being addressed as a high priority. Second, there are a significant number of emails sent to members that are being bounced back as unviable.  This is being addressed through better follow up and administration.

However, as well as correcting the technical and administrative problems, there is still room for improvement on how the AIA UK Chapter communicates with its membership.   One step towards better communications is to understand the different components.

  • Announcements – According to the Survey, 89% of Survey responders preferred receiving communications from the UK Chapter by email.  Special Announcements for Chapter business and Event Announcements are issued routinely.  We will continue to rely on emailed Announcements as our primary form of communication with a focus on an improved timeline, when possible (More notice of events and meetingswas a representative request).  

  • Website – Our Website’s Homepage (See HERE ) contains standing information on the Chapter – membership, links to other organisations, contact details and event news – and is updated frequently.  It also includes convenient links to our Social Media accounts. The Website maintains easy access to Event Announcements (past and future), and past Newsletters and End of Year Presentations.   

As the Website is both backward and forward looking (‘Plan schedule 6 months ahead of events, please’ was a plaintive request from the Survey), it should be the first stop for keeping up to date with Chapter activities, but requires the membership to take the initiative to make contact.

We will endeavour to improve the Website over the next year; it is under constant review, but could also benefit from membership comments.

  • Social Media – Although the Survey indicated only 6.5% preferred Social Media for receiving information, it is the most immediate method of contacting the membership with on-the-spot news, features, notices and reminders.  In particular, it reaches younger members and other interested parties – for example – architectural offices - not on our mailing lists. It will become more a more prominent communication means in the future, but will not replace emailed Announcements

We strongly encourage you to sign up to our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts by following the links below if you have not already done so.  

Members are also encouraged to comment on Social Media content and to contribute to it.  For example, personal posts and stories chronicling your attendance at an architectural event can be directed to our Instagram account by tagging or using the hashtag #AIAUK.  Past stories are archived in the roundels at the top of our Instagram account.

  • Blog -  Past events or other features are recorded in Blog articles.  The 3 to 6 most recent Blogs are included on the Website Homepage, plus the 30 most recent Blog articles can be found under the separate Website heading ‘News’. Older Blog articles have been incorporated into our periodical Newsletters.

As the Blogs are only assessable if members make the effort to visit the Website, it has been decided that selected Blog articles will now be announced on Social Media as soon as they are published (‘less content more frequently’ as one responder requested).  From our Instagram account, there is a direct link to our Website Blogs.  Alternatively, links to specific Blog articles are included in the posts and can be manually copied for direct searches.   

  • Newsletters – Since 2015, the AIA UK Chapter has been issued by an emailed Newsletter, generally every 4 months or shortly after one of the Chapter’s major Events.  The Newsletter is a compilation of Blog article plus other communications. It records details of past Events; contains articles on current legal and practice issues affecting the membership; and includes membership news.  All the past Newsletters since 1994 are archived on the Website as a permanent record of the Chapter.

The 2018 Survey offered some positive encouragement (‘Like the Newsletter’ / ‘Well organised – well written and thoughtful’ were two such comments).  The editors and writers of the Newsletter would greatly appreciate more specific feedback on their efforts via the ‘comment’ and ‘likes’ buttons at the base of each article.   

If you have received this Announcement, but have not received previous Newsletters, please contact the Chapter Secretary or subscribe below.

Written by: AIA UK Chapter Secretary

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