In four years leading the Encore Network, I’ve learned a lot about how the Network can support all of our efforts. Our August survey gave me the opportunity to hear what’s important to you in this phase of the Network’s growth, whether you’re a long-standing participant or a newcomer.

Overall, the responses were very positive: “The Network has come so far in a short time. We look forward to more!” and “Very excited to be part of the Network.” You also offered much-appreciated suggestions for improvement: well-functioning webinar technology, additional value-added information and maintaining our initial momentum.

Your responses offered fresh ideas and confirmed some working assumptions. Many thanks to the 42 percent of founding members who shared their thoughts.

New insights

Why you joined: The most powerful motivators are learning and connecting with others who view older adults as a resource. You’re looking to build on other members’ experiences, identify new resources and collaborate on programs, events and advocacy.

Peer learning through special-interest groups and other formats is an appealing idea: You expressed strong interest in topic-focused sessions with other members, and many volunteered to lead those sessions. Highest-priority subjects include encore movement-building, communications and messaging, diversity/inclusion/equity and sustainability.

A searchable member directory would be a big help in making connections: We have a simple version and we’ll explore ways to enhance it. Like any directory, the more members participate, the more valuable it will be.

What you’re interested in working on: In addition to peer learning, many were interested in helping with planning webinars and/or our next in-person gathering (date and location TBD).

Confirming our working assumptions

How you want to get information: Tried-and-true methods are most appealing: the Network newsletter, e-mails, our website and webinars.

In-person events are an important way to connect: We hear you, even if we don’t have easy ways to organize in-person gatherings – yet.

Topics for webinars and other learning This creative group offered a wealth of ideas. Multiple people expressed interest in:

  • Marketing and communications
  • Innovative programs from Network members and the Generation-to-Generation campaign
  • Workforce issues related to older adults
  • Support for encore startup programs
  • Trends related to aging and the encore movement

What’s next? I’ll be in touch with those who want to work on Network activities, and the survey results will be a foundation for the Network leadership team’s September planning session. We’ll share action plans in October.

Thank you again for your time and thoughtful comments on our first member survey. Those insights are vital as we work to make our Network an effective partner for all members.

To review the survey results, click here.

Contact: Betsy Werley

Published: August 23, 2017