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Monkey Say: The results are in! | President’s Post by Laura Stigler

01 Mar 2019 6:47 PM | Cynthia Tomusiak (Administrator)

A few weeks ago, we unleashed a Survey Monkey out to about 750 of our contacts, made up of IWOC members, former members and those who’ve yet to join. Why did we do this? Guess it’s like those written “interviews” we’d pass around to our secret crushes in elementary school: We wanted to know what everyone really thinks of IWOC. We kept it anonymous, so respondents could feel free to voice their honest opinions, without fear of the Monkey coming after them and wreaking havoc in their homes.

Last week, our well-trained survey simian fetched the responses. The results had us swinging from the chandeliers.

The first thing I’d like to share is our members’ ranking of the various features/benefits IWOC offers. Here’s how they all panned out, starting with the top banana:

  1. Informative monthly programs
  2. Online Profile Directory
  3. Networking ops
  4. Camaraderie
  5. Writer’s Line Job Board
  6. Program Podcasts
  7. Opportunity to sell books (such as at LitFest, CWIP Publishing Fair)
  8. Stet blog
  9. Parties
  10. Other (Mentoring was mentioned)

The fact that Monthly Programs rated #1 was extremely rewarding. Since IWOC’s inception, thinking of interesting, relevant programs has been a major challenge. Yet somehow, we’re still able to offer them every month – one of the benefits that sets IWOC apart from most other Chicago writers organizations. Kudos to our Program Committee for consistently coming through.

As a close second banana, the Online Profile Directory missed the top spot by a hair. Its appeal is quite understandable, considering it provides members with worldwide, 24/7/365 exposure to their services for the mere price of a Professional membership. Try buying an ad for that kind of coverage at that price! Get one job out of it, and you’ve more than made up the cost.

The rest of the rankings are self-explanatory, and were followed by a whole bunch of positive comments. Thank you for those!

There were also some issues raised that deserved answers. But alas, with the respondents being anonymous, it was impossible to address their concerns directly. So I will try here:

Issue: Location. A few non-members lamented that we always have the monthly programs in Chicago, as opposed to the suburbs. For them, having to travel to meetings was a non-starter. To this we say:

1. Program podcasts are posted on the “Members Resource” page of the IWOC website, so no need for members to travel. Granted, you won’t be able to ask questions and engage in the lively art of networking, but at least you’d be privy to all the valuable info.

2. After 5:00pm, $8.00 parking is available (with validation) next door in the Bloomingdale’s building. Also, there are apps (Ex.: Spot Hero) that can guide you to discounted parking in the area.

Issue: Writers’ needs. One previous member said IWOC didn’t meet their writerly needs. It would have been helpful to hear suggestions as to how their needs could be met. If that response was yours, please contact me to opine.

Issue: Parties. Apparently one respondent was tired of IWOCFest being held in Greektown. Hmm. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, “To tire of Greek food is to tire of life.” But popular as Greek has been, there’s no reason not to contemplate changing the venue. We already have some FESTive ideas percolating.

So what have we learned?

1. That IWOC is serving its members well. And it shall continue to do so, from offering informative programs to maintaining a comprehensive Online Profile Directory, promoting members’ notable news and providing a hub in which friendly fellow freelancers can congregate to exchange advice – or just to laugh, dine and kibitz.

2. That there is always room to improve. But this is where we’ll need your help. Let us know your needs, what you feel is missing, Program suggestions – anything! Be specific. And we’ll get busy filling in those blanks.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Survey. Hope you found it more fun than a barrel of – well, ya know.

- Laura Stigler

P.S. Let’s jump up and down in appreciation for Membership Chair Alicia Dale, who wrangled the Survey Monkey and made it happen!

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