This month members will receive the 2023 Bard LLI Annual Membership Survey. Although LLI has been sending out annual surveys for a long time, this one is different. For the first time, we are requesting demographic information, which will be completely confidential. There is no way that anyone can trace answers back to an individual. In order for the results of this survey to be significant, it is essential that we have robust participation.
I think we have all noticed that the membership of Bard LLI has been transitioning, as have operations over the past few years. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which has been the digitalization of our systems and our responses to the pandemic. It has long been known that there is “ …a vital connection between individual well-being and late-life learning opportunities.”*
The 2023 survey will give us a snapshot of who we are as a community, which will, in turn, help us to be more responsive to our membership. Here are just a few reasons to collect demographic info:
- To allow us to track changes, e.g., gender mix, age mix, marital status/household size, income, education, location, and length of time with the organization.
- To compare our population with the populations of the villages/towns in the immediate vicinity, which is available through census data.
- To learn how many LLI members are new to the area and may need more introductory services.
- To learn what areas of expertise our population has.
The goal as always is “… to promote a feeling of community”* among our members and “… to pursue learning as an end in itself.”* Keeping these goals in mind, I hope you will take the opportunity for involvement in building a strong and caring LLI.
I have consulted with several experts who have experience designing and interpreting surveys. I would especially like to thank LLI’s own Donna Warner and Joanne Goodman, who generously gave their time and resources to assist me in this endeavor.
*Shinagel, Michael. (2012) “Demographics and Lifelong Learning Institutes in the 21st Century”. Continuing Higher Education Review, Vol 76, 2012; 29.