NANPA Member Survey by Eric Bowles, Marketing Chair

Thanks to all of the 400 NANPA members who participated in the recent Member Survey. You provided valuable feedback on NANPA, it’s programs, and your needs as members.

Input from the NANPA board and committee chairs guided my creation of this survey. An overview and detailed report of the results were presented to the NANPA Board in August and shared with all NANPA committee chairs and NANPA staff. Here, we are presenting a partial summary of the results with you.

Overall, NANPA member satisfaction is up sharply. This is a good sign and consistent with improved membership trends, but there is still room for improvement.

Seventy-five percent of NANPA members are age 55 or older. This is typical of other photography groups, and it also reflects the age of the NANPA organization and the point in life where people have time for photography.

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Nearly 30 percent of NANPA members are women—and younger members are increasingly female. NANPA has greater representation of women—particularly in the professional ranks—than other photography organizations.

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Professional members make up 21 percent of the NANPA membership, with part-time professional and intermediate advanced amateurs each representing around 35 percent. A large number of members do some professional work or sell some images, but they do not consider themselves full-time professionals. Both amateur and professional members are important segments of NANPA.

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We asked members about the importance of specific aspects of the value of membership. Here are the top five areas for the membership as a whole:

  • Advocacy of nature photography issues / rights
  • Support for conservation / environment
  • Development of photography skills / techniques
  • Inspiration
  • Development of photography business skills / techniques

For all segments, the most important area was advocacy of nature photography and the rights of nature photographers. This is an area where NANPA is particularly active thanks to the efforts of Rich Halperin—professional photographer, attorney and past president of NANPA—and other members. NANPA recently concluded litigation with Google about photographer’s rights, and is actively involved in discussions with U.S Fish and Wildlife about access and permitting.

Conservation and the environment remain very important to all member segments. This is a core value of NANPA and one of the reasons the organization exists. As nature photographers, the environment, conservation and related issues are important. There are a number of programs, including NANPA eNews, that address conservation and the environment and share the efforts of NANPA members on that front. We have plans to expand these programs through the NANPA Meetup groups in 2015.

For amateur members, the key value is help in improving their photography and technique. For professionals, while improving technique is important, it’s also about helping to improve their photography business. NANPA’s long range plans include expanding learning opportunities through summits, road shows, and on-line learning programs. In doing so, we take advantage of the expertise in our membership. Look for continued expansion of educational opportunities. Members also reported a keen interest in helping the organization through blog posts, articles, and teaching classes for other NANPA members.

The survey process is an important way for NANPA to gather feedback from members and translate that feedback into concrete, actionable plans. NANPA’s board and committee chairs are using the survey as a guide for future planning. We appreciate your participation. If you have questions or comments, please send them to Eric Bowles (eric@bowlesimages.com) or Susan Day (susanday@nanpa.org).

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