Woman entering the Society (c) Panel 8 Photography
In January, we asked our Fellows and members about how they engage with the Society: how they keep up to date with our activities, which member benefits they use, and if they had suggestions for how we could improve their membership experience.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to over 1,000 Fellows and members who took the time to complete the survey. Your answers were extremely useful, helping to guide our actions throughout this difficult year. While the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown may have overtaken some of our responses to your suggestions, we will continue working to incorporate your feedback in our future work.
Here are just some of the changes we’ve made this year:
The number one request was ‘live streams of Monday night lectures.’
In a change hastened by the pandemic, we are now live streaming our events programme, including Monday night lectures, via the Members Area of our website. When we are able to return to the Ondaatje Theatre for in-person events, we will also continue to live stream Monday night lectures and other events.
Nearly 4,000 people tuned in to our live streamed events over the summer. Our packed autumn programme features live streams of Monday night lectures, topical panel discussions and talks organised by our regional committees. You can find a simple guide to live streaming our events here.
61% of respondents said they’d switch to an online version of the termly Bulletin.
Due to the pandemic and our current working practices, the autumn Bulletin was available online-only. Future editions, starting with spring 2021, will be available in both print and online versions. Fellows and members will be able to choose which version they prefer. The online edition of the spring Bulletin will feature further design improvements and the option to download a pdf version of the publication.
Many respondents requested more professional events and career support.
Our autumn events programme features over 40 CPD events for teachers, those working in the field, and geography professionals more widely.
Our recent work for professionals includes expanding and refining our careers resources, as well as refreshing our Chartered Geographer mentoring programme, which creates valuable connections for professional support and guidance. We have also been conducting regular webinars for those looking to begin their Chartered Geographer application.
Most recently, we have produced a framework for Professional Practice Groups, which will bring together those with an interest in professional geographical practice. You can keep up to date with all of the Society’s work with and for professionals here.
Half of respondents who use social media said they would follow us on Instagram.
We launched the Society’s Instagram channel in February. It features updates on our work, events programme, and advocacy for geography. We have nearly 5,000 followers so far. This stands alongside our other social media feeds on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Be sure to follow us on these channels so that you don’t miss any updates on our wide range of activities.
We also received many positive messages from Fellows and members, who value being a part of the Society. Thank you for this encouragement. We will be assessing the best ways to use membership surveys of this kind in the future. For now, here are some of your kind words about the Society:
‘…a fun place to meet kindred spirits, who inspire and inform in equal measure.’
‘The RGS gave me inspiration during my career and continues to develop geography in all its fascinating aspects.’
‘Being a Fellow is a huge privilege. Coming to your events fills me with joy!’