2020 Subscriber Survey: What we heard and how we’re responding

The results from APO’s annual Subscriber Survey are in! As in previous years, we learned a lot about how APO is used and your suggested improvements — all of which will help us achieve our goal of long-term sustainability for APO. Director, Brigid van Wanrooy gives a rundown of key take-aways and changes to APO in response.

Photo credit: Rawpixel-652583 Unsplash

APO subscribers, you did it again! It means a lot to us that 391 of you took the time to tell us what you think. You may have done it out of the goodness of your heart or for the prizes on offer, or a bit of both. Congratulations to the four winners of the draw: Bruce from Canberra was delivered an iPad, and Deborah, Alan, and Nathan have all joined My APO+ for one year for free!  

When we launched our My APO+ membership service in October last year, it was a new and tentative step towards securing our long-term sustainability. For 18 years, we have been providing a free service via ad-hoc funding. This is now untenable, particularly due to the uncertainty provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. So we were keen to hear from our newsletter subscribers how we could improve our new service and other tips to help APO thrive. 

We learned that just over half (54%) of subscribers were aware of My APO+, and over half (58%) didn’t know if it was value for money. ‘What’s the value proposition?’ we hear you say. Well, My APO+ is for super busy people who don’t have time to browse our repository or open every newsletter — rather, they want newsletters devoted to a particular subject and alerts when a specific policy or research resource is available on APO.

We know many of you enjoy the serendipity of perusing Policy Pulse and Policy Weekly. If you have told someone about APO’s fantastic newsletter service and they have replied, “I don’t have time to read another newsletter” — My APO+ is for them!

Staying with those aware of My APO+, 48% said they were considering signing up. We urge you to do that because we are continuing to improve the service.

This year, we added two new subject-based newsletters to the My APO+ offering. In addition to the New Zealand newsletter, the new Natural & Built Environment responds to our discovery that the Environment is now our 5th most popular subject.

What subjects are of most interest to you?

We’re currently working to offer My APO+ as a monthly membership so you can give it a try for just $14 per month — still less than the price of a weekly coffee! 

Some of you said you don’t have capacity to pay. One wanted to know if it is tax deductible (it is, as a work expense), another whether organisational memberships are possible. They will be very soon! We know that there are many organisations out there — particularly government and universities — already have multiple APO subscribers — and even more potential subscribers. So, we’ll be releasing our organisational sponsorship prospectus shortly (subscribe to the APO Update to be one of the first to know). 

Finally, we heard from subscribers for whom  My APO+ is not for them but want to contribute to our ongoing operations by donating to APO. We are pleased to let you know you now can donate (and it’s tax deductible too!)

APO appreciates our 15,000+ strong policy and research community — that’s you. And we are grateful that you support us in the ways you can, whether that be joining My APO+, donating, influencing your organisation to sponsor us, or telling (or tweeting) your networks and friends about us. We’ll continue to listen and respond in the best way we can.

Brigid van Wanrooy joined APO as Director in July 2019. With a PhD in social research methods and policy, and experience across academia and government, Brigid has always been focused on how research can impact policy and practice.