American Philatelic Society

In 2007 the APS commissioned a marketing study. The results have been published online at the APS website . The purpose of the study was to determine who joins the APS, why they join, why they stay and what they want as member services to keep them happy. The study also addressed the demographics of membership. Commissioning a study is a great step. Implementing its recommendations would be an even better one. The study is seventy pages long. A few of its insights are that most members both joined and continue to maintain their membership for two main reasons- they want to support their hobby and they want the benefits that membership confers. The study indicated that the APS does a relatively poor job of communicating to members what the benefits of membership are. 30% of members have never even heard of the APS expertization service. Over 60% have never heard of the Estate Advisory Service (which is probably just as well as it is pretty bad). Very few have ever used the library. Over and over the study says that the APS does a poor job of communicating with its members and a poor job of increasing the value of membership. And this is in an environment of large dues increases. If the society were thriving, ignoring these recommendations could be tolerated. But membership is at very dangerous levels and the study that the APS itself commissioned is a road map towards becoming a financially healthier society with more members. As the survey unintentionally makes clear, from a financial point of view, the hobby would be unaffected by the demise of the APS as, astonishingly, over 60% of members report spending less than $1000 per year on stamps and philatelic activities. But a strong and active society could help our hobby grow and attract new collectors. It is a shame that this opportunity is being missed.

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