Readers' Survey Report ************************************** 12 August 2016
by Alice Finden
Hello from the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion! We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey about the Campaign newsletter we sent out in the second half of July. This is a report of the answers we received to our questions. The information really helped to give us some insight into whether you read the newsletter and find it valuable for your own information, your involvement in the issues and how you share the content with others.
First some background. In the past year, the membership of the Campaign has grown from ±850 to ±1,800 groups and individuals from 115 countries who are working on abortion rights, sexual and reproductive rights, human rights, gender, violence, health, development, and in other related fields. They come from grassroots groups, local-national-international NGOs, coalitions, regional networks, inter-governmental bodies, and also individual advocates, health professionals, government policymakers, legal and human rights experts, academics and students, and media.
The Campaign Coordination team in London currently consists of: Marge Berer, Coordinator and Newsletter Editor; Sara Barnes, Social Media Editor; Patricia Nilsson, Press and Media Editor; and Alice Finden, that's me. I manage the website, membership, and newsletter production. I am also doing/gathering research on trials and imprisonment of women and abortion providers around the world since 2013, for a web-based report.
We are working hard to facilitate the strengthening of a solid network of abortion rights supporters at all levels – by sharing and disseminating as widely as possible information and news of international interest and significance on safe abortion, highlighting the activities and stories of the Campaign's growing membership, and engaging and connecting with new and old contacts over social media, our website and newsletter, and through contact with journalists.
Changes to the newsletter in 2016
The newsletter goes out 3 times a week in order to keep on top of the incredible amount of news received. In January 2016, we moved the newsletter from Constant Contact to MailChimp, which meant a lot of work to ensure our membership/mailing list was transferred intact. We've spent ages updating that list and have sent out hundreds of invitations to join the Campaign too. We continued the close interaction between the newsletter and our Facebook/Twitter accounts, but we also began to use social media for other kinds of stories and for engaging with our members too. Throughout this time, we have improved the design and layout several times. This year, we worked for 5 months with a website consultant to rebuild the Campaign's website so that we could post all newsletter articles on the web and share a wider range of information and resources. The website went live in mid-May 2016. At that point we reduced the number of newsletter stories to six, to fit the website layout, and began to include visuals for every story. Most recently, we changed the newsletter so that it contains only an introductory paragraph for each story, with a link to the full stories on the website news pages. Feature stories and solidarity requests remain as full-length newsletters. There is also a list of all past newsletters for 2015 and 2016 to date by title, with a link to the complete newsletter, on the news archive pages.
Last month, we decided it was time to find out if you, our readers, approved of what we have been doing.
Newsletter readers' survey July 2016
The survey consisted of 8 questions. We received 45 responses, or about 4% of the people the survey went to (a slightly better than average response rate, we are told). Here are the questions and answers and some of their comments:
How often do you read the Campaign newsletter? 67% “always”, 16% often, and 16% sometimes read the newsletter. No one answered "never".
1) We read as soon as we receive it.
2) I always read this, it is enormously informative, well written and interesting.
When you open the newsletter, how many stories do you read? Overall, 69% read between 3 and 6 articles; 46% among those read 3 articles.
1) Four people said they skim all the summaries, and then read some or all in depth.
2) Three said they read in full the stories in their area of interest.
3) The stories are well articulated.
4) One expressed concern that the newsletters assumed in-depth knowledge, but should also address readers who may not be well-versed in the dynamics and policy issues in every country (but thought this was improving over time).
We recently shortened the text of each story in the newsletter to a paragraph with a link to the website for the full story – do you prefer this approach to reading the entire text in an email? The great majority, around 93%, prefer the shortened newsletter with links.
1) This approach allows the reader to choose to read in further depth if wished.
2) I like to read the text but ALSO have a link so I can share the articles on social media.
3) However, please make sure you also include enough information in the newsletter itself...
What kind of news is important for you to receive from us? The current mixture of features, news on law and policy, news on abortion services, personal experiences, publications and resources, were all approved. We weren't expecting the following proportions, though, which really interested us:
1) Also include news on abortion training and who is looking for help with clinical skills.
2) All kind of news.
3) I think the mix of all of the above is very powerful.
Do you think we send out too many newsletters? A full 86% of respondents said no, not too many, only 14% said yes, too many.
1) The newsletters are all great resource materials.
2) Not really, but ideally they would be no more than once a week.
3) However, content could be better written and edited.
If there were fewer newsletters, would you read more of them? If yes, what kind of stories would you omit to reduce the number?
1) If you sign up to this and commit to this, you should read all that is relevant to you.
2) No. The issue isn't the volume but the quality.
3) One said reduce publications and resources; another said reduce policy-related stories.
4) Several reiterated support for number of newsletters and stories, one said easily read.
When you receive a solidarity request to sign, do you respond to it? 90% said they responded to solidarity requests when they received them, most of not all the time. But we know this is not true of many of our readers, and this is very concerning for us as we consider solidarity requests a priority activity for this Campaign. In the comments, it was clear that having to obtain organisational approval to sign was problematic. Two mentioned time constraints in this regard. Two said it depended whether the topic was of interest to their group. A few said they didn't sign because they were individuals. We need to consider this further.
How do you use information from our newsletter?
This is important, as it tells us that a third of readers are using the information in their campaigning, which is great, and that a large majority are ensuring that it reaches even further than our immediate network of members. From reading many of your websites and social media, we know that not all of our readers are campaigning for abortion rights, but you still want to be kept informed and share with others. You are an important part of our readership, because when the issue is raised in your countries, you can play an active, informed, supportive role.
1) I send out weekly emails on abortion topics to my company and often use stories found in the newsletters.
2) Thank you, this is such a valuable service and incredibly helpful.
3) The newsletter is great, thank you. I like the way the issues are themed. And it's attractively presented and easy to read.
4) Great work!
And in return, we thank you all for your interest, support and active involvement!!
GET IN TOUCH!! WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
If you have another perspective, write to me, Alice Finden.
If you have news about your own and others' work for safe abortion to share with our fast-growing network, write to Marge Berer.
If you want to engage with us on social media, contact Sara Barnes.
And if you are a journalist and want to take up our stories in your own work, Patricia Nilssonwants to hear from you. Contact her via Twitter too: @safe_abortion.
AND DON'T FORGET TO LET US KNOW WHAT YOU ARE ORGANISING FOR 28 SEPTEMBER 2016!!