Robert Furbee, Marcella Hilt, and Thomas Knecht
This study addresses four research questions about the attitudes and interests of retiree members of the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE).
All 100 known retiree members are included on ACE’s retiree listserv, and they were invited by that means to participate in an online survey. Twenty-three respondents completed the questionnaire for a response rate of 23%.
The respondents may not be fully representative of ACE retiree members for several reasons described in the study report. Nonetheless, the results will be useful in deciding about future options for increasing retiree involvement with ACE.
The four research questions below are followed by conclusions drawn from the study.
1. What are the attitudes of retiree members toward ACE?
Respondents were somewhat positive about the value of their membership and the communications they are receiving, but they were somewhat negative about the relevance of ACE to themselves in their current situations. In general, they don’t view ACE as very relevant to their current needs and interests in their post-employment years.
2. What do retiree members currently value about their ACE memberships?
Respondents rated one key membership benefit —maintaining contact with colleagues —rather positively in terms of availability and importance. Opportunities to keep abreast of new developments and to attend meetings and conferences were perceived as being less available (perhaps because of cost and travel requirements) and substantially less important in their current stage of life.
3. What current ACE events and activities do retiree members find of value and interesting?
Respondents viewed ACE activities involving communication with members as positive in importance. They apparently appreciate being kept informed and kept in touch with their fellow retirees. They view activities that involve travel to meetings, specialized communications (such as SIG information), and training opportunities somewhat negatively. Award programs are of the least importance to retirees, probably because most retirees have little need for their work to be evaluated by peers.
4. What other events and activities could ACE conduct that would catch the interest of retiree members and increase their involvement?
The responses reveal that retirees have moved on from their career interests to other, more immediate interests in their own families and communities. Activities of top importance, as one might expect, are spending time with family and friends, travel, sports and exercise, hobbies, volunteer work, and educational activities. Professional society involvement is rated as neutral in importance, and participation in religious or spiritual organizations and in short-term foreign assignments and projects are rated negatively in importance. Inspection of individual responses, however, reflects strong interest among some respondents in certain specific activities.